Prostate cancer (PCa) is the most frequently diagnosed noncutaneous cancer and the leading cause of cancer related deaths in men in the United States and many other Asian countries. Dietary factors are considered as a strategic agent to control the risk of PCa. Lupeol, a triterpene, present in fruits and medicinal plants, has been shown to possess many pharmacological properties including anticancer effects. Here, effect of lupeol on cell proliferation and cell death was evaluated using human PCa cells, PC-3. In MTT assay, lupeol inhibited the cell proliferation (12-71%) in dose (50-800 microM) and time dependent manner. Flow-cytometric analysis of cell-cycle revealed that an antiproliferative effect of lupeol (400-600 microM) is associated with an increase in G(2)/M-phase arrest (34-58%). RT-PCR analysis showed that lupeol-induced G2/M-phase arrest was mediated through the inhibition of cyclin regulated signaling pathway. Lupeol inhibited the expression of cyclin B, cdc25C, and plk1 but induced the expression of 14-3-3sigma genes. However no changes were observed in the expression of gadd45, p21(waf1/cip1) and cdc2 genes. Results of western blot showed that lupeol regulates the phosphorylation of cdc2 (Tyr15) and cdc25C (Ser198). Further, on increase of lupeol exposure to PC-3 cells an induction of apoptosis was recorded, which was associated with upregulation of bax, caspase-3, -9, and apaf1 genes and down regulation of antiapoptotic bcl-2 gene. The role of caspase-induced apoptosis was confirmed by increase in reactive oxygen species, loss of mitochondrial membrane potential followed by DNA fragmentation. Thus, our study suggests that lupeol possess novel antiproliferative and apoptotic potential against PCa.