Eurycoma longifolia Jack has been widely used in traditional medicine for its antimalarial, aphrodisiac, anti-diabetic, antimicrobial and anti-pyretic activities. Its anticancer activity has also been recently reported on different solid tumors, however no anti-leukemic activity of this plant has been reported. Thus the present study assesses the in vitro and in vivo anti-proliferative and apoptotic potentials of E. longifolia on K-562 leukemic cell line. The K-562 cells (purchased from ATCC) were isolated from patients with chronic myelocytic leukemia (CML) were treated with the various fractions (TAF273, F3 and F4) of E. longifolia root methanolic extract at various concentrations and time intervals and the anti-proliferative activity assessed by MTS assay. Flow cytometry was used to assess the apoptosis and cell cycle arrest. Nude mice injected subcutaneously with 10(7) K-562 cells were used to study the anti-leukemic activity of TAF273 in vivo. TAF273, F3 and F4 showed various degrees of growth inhibition with IC50 values of 19, 55 and 62 µg/ml, respectively. TAF273 induced apoptosis in a dose and time dependent manner. TAF273 arrested cell cycle at G1 and S phases. Intraperitoneal administration of TAF273 (50 mg/kg) resulted in a significant growth inhibition of subcutaneous tumor in TAF273-treated mice compared with the control mice (P = 0.024). TAF273 shows potent anti-proliferative activity in vitro and in vivo models of CML and therefore, justifies further efforts to define more clearly the potential benefits of using TAF273 as a novel therapeutic strategy for CML management.