Brassinolide is a plant sterol first isolated from pollen of rape (Brassica napus L.). The present study was carried out to investigate the effect of brassinolide on androgen-independent human prostate cancer PC-3 cell viability. Results showed that brassinolide could induce a time and concentration-dependent cytotoxicity in PC-3 cells. The mode of cell death appeared to be predominately apoptosis, as shown by flow-cytometric analysis, fluorescence and transmission electron microscopes. Caspase-3 activity was obviously increased after brassinolide treatment. Western blot studies indicated that treatment with brassinolide triggered a time-dependent decrease in the expression of anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2. We suggest that brassinolide could induce cytotoxicity in PC-3 cells by triggering apoptosis. Brassinolide might therefore be a promising candidate for the treatment of prostate cancer.