Resveratrol is a polyphenol found at high concentrations in grapes and red wine with reported anticarcinogenic effects. We studied the molecular mechanism of resveratrol-induced apoptosis and proliferation arrest in prostate derived cells PZ-HPV-7 (nontumorigenic line), LNCaP (androgen-sensitive cancer line), and PC-3 (androgen-insensitive cancer line). Apoptosis and cell cycle distribution were evaluated by flow cytometry and proliferation by MTT assay and direct cell counting. Caspases, bax, bcl-2, cyclins, Cdks, p53, p21, and p27 were measured by Western blot and kinase activities of cyclin/Cdk complexes by immunoprecipitation followed by kinase assays with appropriate substrates. Resveratrol induced a decrease in proliferation rates and an increase in apoptosis in cancer cell lines in a dose- and time-dependent manner. These effects were coincident with cell accumulation at the G0/G1 phase. In LNCaP and PC-3, the apoptosis induced by resveratrol was mediated by activation of caspases 9 and 3 and a change in the ratio of bax/bcl-2. Expressions of cyclin D1, E, and Cdk4 as well as cyclin D1/Cdk4 kinase activity were reduced by resveratrol only in LNCaP cells. In contrast, cyclin B and Cdk1 expression and cyclin B/Cdk1 kinase activity were decreased in both cell lines in the presence of resveratrol. However, modulator proteins p53, p21, and p27 were increased by resveratrol only in LNCaP cells. These effects probably result in the observed proliferation arrest and disruption of cell cycle control. In addition, the specific differences found between LNCaP and PC-3 suggest that resveratrol acts through different mechanisms upon the androgen or estrogen receptor cell status.