Our primary studies showed that berberine induced apoptosis in human tongue cancer SCC-4 cells in vitro. But there is no report to show berberine inhibited SCC-4 cancer cells in vivo on a murine xenograft animal model. SCC-4 tumor cells were implanted into mice and groups of mice were treated with vehicle, berberine (10 mg/kg of body weight) and doxorubicin (4 mg/kg of body weight). The tested agents were injected once per four days intraperitoneally (i.p.), with treatment starting 4 weeks prior to cells inoculation. Treatment with 4 mg/kg of doxorubicin or with 10 mg/kg of berberine resulted in a reduction in tumor incidence. Tumor size in xenograft mice treated with 10 mg/kg berberine was significantly smaller than that in the control group. Our findings indicated that berbeirne inhibits tumor growth in a xenograft animal model. Therefore, berberine may represent a tongue cancer preventive agent and can be used in clinic.