Inonotus obliquus is a medicinal mushroom that has been used as an effective agent to treat various diseases such as diabetes, tuberculosis and cancer. Inotodiol, an included triterpenoid shows significant anti-tumor effect. However, the mechanisms have not been well documented. In this study, we aimed to explore the effect of inotodiol on proliferation and apoptosis in human cervical cancer HeLa cells and investigated the underlying molecular mechanisms. HeLa cells were treated with different concentrations of inotodiol. The MTT assay was used to evaluate cell proliferating ability, flow cytometry (FCM) was employed for cell cycle analysis and cell apoptosis, while expression of cyclinE, p27, bcl-2 and bax was detected by immunocytochemistry. Proliferation of HeLa cells was inhibited by inotodiolin a dose-dependent manner at 24h (r=0.9999, p<0.01). A sub-G1 peak (apoptotic cells) of HeLa cells was detected after treatment and the apoptosis rate with the concentration and longer incubation time (r=1.0, p<0.01), while the percentage of cells in S phase and G2/M phase decreased significantly. Immunocytochemistry assay showed that the expression of cyclin E and bcl-2 in the treated cells significantly decreased, while the expression of p27 and bax obviously increased, compared with the control group (p<0.05). The results of our research indicate that inotodiol isolated from Inonotus obliquus inhibited the proliferation of HeLa cells and induced apoptosis in vitro. The mechanisms may be related to promoting apoptosis through increasing the expression of bax and cutting bcl-2 and affecting the cell cycle by down-regulation the expression of cyclin E and up-regulation of p27. The results further indicate the potential value of inotodiol for treatment of human cervical cancer.