The objective of this study was to investigate the beneficial effects of caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) on gentamicin (GM)-induced nephrotoxicity in Wistar rats. Twenty-one adult Wistar rats were divided into three groups as follows: control group, GM and GM + CAPE group. Control group rats were injected with 5% ethanol, GM group rats were treated with 100 mg/kg GM and GM + CAPE group were pretreated with 10 mu mol/kg CAPE for 2 days, then exposed to GM at the same dose. Drug injections were applied for 12 days. Twenty-four hours after the last injection, rats were killed and kidneys were quicky removed. Tissue malondialdehyde (MDA) measurements and microscopic examination of kidneys were performed. In the GM group, significant increases in MDA levels were observed (P < 0.05). These changes were found to be normalized in the GM + CAPE group. Exposure to GM caused necrosis of tubular epithelial cells. Necrosis of tubules were found to be prevented by CAPE pretreatment. In conclusion, CAPE exerted an improvement on GM-induced nephrotoxicity, possibly, at least in part through inhibition of the production of oxygen free radicals that cause lipid peroxidation.