The present study assessed the sensitivity of immature hamster uterotrophic assay to reference oestrogen agonists/antagonists in order to develop a sensitive model for evaluation of endocrine-active compounds in diets. After performing a baseline for control animals, the sensitivity of immature females (postnatal day 18) to reference compounds was evaluated in a three-day uterotrophic assay. The absolute and adjusted dry uterine weights, fold induction over control for absolute wet uterine weight, and wet uterine weight/body weight ratio (%) were used as endpoints. The significantly active doses for reference oestrogens were as follows: 0.6 μg/kg for 17α-ethinyloestradiol (s.c.); 1 μg/kg/day (s.c.) and 40 μg/kg (p.o.) for diethylstilboestrol; 40 mg/kg (s.c.) and 160 mg/kg (p.o.) for bisphenol A. Co-treatment with tamoxifen at a dose of 1 mg/kg significantly antagonised the uterotrophic effect induced by 1 μg/kg 17α-ethinyloestradiol, and showed the attenuated proliferative effect in histopathological examination. We found immature hamster uterotrophic assay as a sensitive model that could be a good alternative to the rat assay.