Prodigiosin is a red pigment produced by various bacteria including Serratia marcescens. Colorectal cancer is one of the most frequent malignancies and one of the most frequent causes of cancer death in the Western world. Its treatment is far from satisfactory and the challenge to oncologists is to find novel chemical entities with less toxicity and greater effectiveness than those used in current chemotherapy. Here we characterize the apoptotic action of prodigiosin in colon cancer cells. DLD-1 and SW-620 human colon adenocarcinoma cells, NRK and Swiss-3T3 nonmalignant cells were assayed by the MTT assay, fragmentation pattern of DNA, Hoechst 33342 staining and study of PARP cleavage by Western blot, in order to characterize the prodigiosin-induced apoptosis. Prodigiosin was purified and its structure was confirmed. Metastatic SW-620 cells were more sensitive to prodigiosin (IC50: 275 nM) than DLD-1. We did not observe a significant decrease in the viability of NRK cells. We confirmed that prodigiosin induces apoptosis in both cancer cell lines by the characteristic DNA laddering pattern and condensed nuclei or apoptotic bodies identified by fluorescence microscopy. These results indicate that prodigiosin induces apoptosis in colon cancer cells.