The cytotoxic mechanism of protein-bound polysaccharide isolated from Phellinus linteus (PL, Mesima) has been investigated. PL inhibited the proliferation and colony formation of SW480 human colon cancer cells. Flow cytometry analysis showed that PL increased the populations of both apoptotic sub-G1 and G2/M phase. The result obtained from TUNEL assay corroborated apoptosis which was shown in flow cytometry. Western blot analysis suggested that PL-induced apoptosis and growth inhibition were associated with decrease in Bcl-2, increase of the release of cytochrome c, and reduced expression of cyclin B1. These results suggest that PL has a direct antitumor effect through apoptosis and cell cycle blockade in certain cancer cells.