Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi), an oriental medical mushroom, has been widely used in Asian countries for centuries to prevent or treat different diseases, including cancer. However, the mechanism(s) responsible for the effects of Ganoderma lucidum on cancer cells remain to be elucidated. We have previously demonstrated that Ganoderma lucidum down-regulated the expression of NF-kappaB-regulated urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) and uPA receptor (uPAR), which resulted in suppression of cell migration of highly invasive human breast and prostate cancer cells. In this study, we investigated the effects of Ganoderma lucidum on cell proliferation, cell cycle, and apoptosis in human prostate cancer cells PC-3. Our data demonstrate that Ganoderma lucidum inhibits cell proliferation in a dose- and time-dependent manner by the down-regulation of expression of cyclin B and Cdc2 and by the up-regulation of p21 expression. The inhibition of cell growth was also demonstrated by cell cycle arrest at G2/M phase. Furthermore, Ganoderma lucidum induced apoptosis of PC-3 cells with a slight decrease in the expression of NF-kappaB-regulated Bcl-2 and Bcl-xl. However, the expression of proapoptotic Bax protein was markedly up-regulated, resulting in the enhancement of the ratio of Bax/Bcl-2 and Bax/Bcl-xl. Thus, Ganoderma lucidum exerts its effect on cancer cells by multiple mechanisms and may have potential therapeutic use for the prevention and treatment of cancer.