Flavokawain C (FKC) is a naturally occurring chalcone which can be found in Kava (Piper methysticum Forst) root. The present study evaluated the effect of FKC on the growth of various human cancer cell lines and the underlying associated mechanisms. FKC showed higher cytotoxic activity against HCT 116 cells in a time- and dose-dependent manner in comparison to other cell lines (MCF-7, HT-29, A549 and CaSki), with minimal toxicity on normal human colon cells. The apoptosis-inducing capability of FKC on HCT 116 cells was evidenced by cell shrinkage, chromatin condensation, DNA fragmentation and increased phosphatidylserine externalization. FKC was found to disrupt mitochondrial membrane potential, resulting in the release of Smac/DIABLO, AIF and cytochrome c into the cytoplasm. Our results also revealed that FKC induced intrinsic and extrinsic apoptosis via upregulation of the levels of pro-apoptotic proteins (Bak) and death receptors (DR5), while downregulation of the levels of anti-apoptotic proteins (XIAP, cIAP-1, c-FlipL, Bcl-xL and survivin), resulting in the activation of caspase-3, -8 and -9 and cleavage of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP). FKC was also found to cause endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, as suggested by the elevation of GADD153 protein after FKC treatment. After the cells were exposed to FKC (60μM) over 18hrs, there was a substantial increase in the phosphorylation of ERK 1/2. The expression of phosphorylated Akt was also reduced. FKC also caused cell cycle arrest in the S phase in HCT 116 cells in a time- and dose-dependent manner and with accumulation of cells in the sub-G1 phase. This was accompanied by the downregulation of cyclin-dependent kinases (CDK2 and CDK4), consistent with the upregulation of CDK inhibitors (p21Cip1 and p27Kip1), and hypophosphorylation of Rb.