Aesculus hippocastanum (the horse chestnut) seed extract has a wide variety of biochemical and pharmacological effects including anti-inflammatory, antianalgesic, and antipyretic activities. The main active compound of this plant is escin. It is known that several medicinal herbs with anti-inflammatory properties have been found to have a role in the prevention and treatment of cancer. In the present study, the cytotoxic effects of escin in the C6 glioma and A549 cell lines were analyzed by MTT. Apoptotic effects of escin on both cell lines were evaluated by Annexin V binding capacity with flow cytometric analysis. Structural and ultrastructural changes were also evaluated using transmission electron microscopy. The results indicated that escin has potent antiproliferative effects against C6 glioma and A549 cells. These effects are both dose and time dependent. Taken together, escin possesses cell cycle arrest on G0/G1 phase and selective apoptotic activity on A549 cells as indicated by increased Annexin V-binding capacity, bax protein expression, caspase-3 activity and morphological changes obtained from micrographs by transmission electron microscopy.