Currently, there is a growing interest in combining anticancer drugs with the aim to improve outcome in patients suffering from tumours and reduce the long-term toxicity associated with the current standard of treatment. In this study, we evaluated the possible role of deracoxib against the toxicity of doxorubicin on normal canine mammary epithelial cells. The effect of deracoxib and doxorubicin combination on cell viability was determined by MTT assay. Apoptosis was characterised by flow cytometry. Cell nitrite concentrations were measured with the Griess reaction. Deracoxib (50 and 100 mu M) treatment decreased the cytotoxic action of doxorubicin at 0.9 mu M in the cells, from 33.63% to 13.4% and 25.82%, respectively. Our results also showed that the reverse effect of deracoxib on doxorubicin-induced cytotoxic activity in the cells was associated with a marked (3.04- to 3.57-fold) decrease in apoptosis. In additional studies identifying the mechanism of the observed effect, deracoxib exhibited an activity to prevent doxorubicin-mediated overproduction of nitric oxide in the cells. Our in vitro study results indicate that deracoxib (50 and 100 mu M) can be beneficial in protecting normal cells from the toxic effect of doxorubicin in conjunction with apoptosis by the modulation of nitric oxide production.