Produced by dietary fiber, butyrate is a potential chemopreventive agent against colon cancer. It stimulates proliferation of normal colonic epithelial cells but induces growth inhibition, differentiation, apoptosis, or a combination of effects in colon carcinoma cells. In this study, we used cDNA membrane arrays and real-time reverse transcriptase– polymerase chain reaction to identify stress genes that were differentially regulated by sodium butyrate (NaB) in HT 29 human colon carcinoma cells. The results indicated that a group of heat shock protein (hsp) genes were upregulated by 3 mM NaB within the first 24 hours of exposure. Because the transcription of hsp genes is under the control of heat shock factors (HSFs), we measured the effects of overexpressed HSF-1 on the responses of HT 29 cells to NaB. Overexpression of HSF-1 inhibited NaB-induced differentiation as measured by alkaline phosphatase activity and carcinoembryonic antigen expression. These results suggest that increased expression of HSFs and Hsps might render colon carcinoma cells resistant to the chemopreventive effects of butyrate.