Curcumin, an active ingredient from the rhizome of the plant, Curcuma longa, has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer activities. It has recently been demonstrated that the chemopreventive activities of curcumin might be due to its ability to inhibit cell growth and induce apoptosis. In the present study, we have investigated the effects of curcumin on growth and apoptosis in the human ovarian cancer cell line Ho-8910 by MTT assay, fluorescence microscopy, flow cytometry and Western blotting. Our data revealed that curcumin could significantly inhibit the growth and induce apoptosis in Ho-8910 cells. A decrease in expression of Bcl-2, Bcl-X(L) and pro-caspase-3 was observed after exposure to 40 microM curcumin, while the levels of p53 and Bax were increased in the curcumin-treated cells. These activities may contribute to the anticarcinogenic action of curcumin.