In tyrosinemia type 1 (HT1), accumulation of toxic metabolites results in oxidative stress and DNA damage, leading to a high incidence of hepatocellular carcinomas. Nuclear factor erythroid-2 related factor 2 (Nrf2) is a key transcription factor important for cellular protection against oxidative stress and chemical induced liver damage. To specifically address the role of Nrf2 in HT1, fumarylacetoacetate hydrolase (Fah)/NrJ2-/- mice were generated. In acute HT1, loss of Nrf2 elicited a strong inflammatory response and dramatically increased the mortality of mice. Following low grade injury, Fah/Nrf2-/- mice develop a more severe hepatitis and liver fibrosis. The glutathione and cellular detoxification system was significantly impaired in Fah/Nrf2-/ - mice, resulting in increased oxidative stress and DNA damage. Consequently, tumor development was significantly accelerated by loss of Nrf2. Potent pharmacological inducers of Nrf2 such as the triterpenoid analogs 1[2-cyano-3,12-dioxooleana-1,9(11)-dien-28-oyl] imidazole have been developed as cancer chemoprevention agents. Pretreatment with 1[2-cyano-3,12-dioxooleana-1,9(11)-dien-28-oyl]imidazole dramatically protected Fah-1- mice against fumarylacetoacetate (Faa)-induced toxicity. Our data establish a central role for Nrf2 in the protection against Faa-induced liver injury; the Nrf2 regulated cellular defense not only prevents acute Faa-induced liver failure but also delays hepatocarcinogenesis in HT1.