As a main active compound in the bark of waxberry (Myrica rubra), myricetin is a macrocyclic diarylheptanoid, and can trigger the apoptosis of HeLa and PC3 cells. The aim of the present study was to elucidate the anticancer effect of myricetin on human breast cancer MCF-7 cells and to explore the possible mechanisms of action. MCF-7 cells were treated with different concentrations of myricetin (0-80 µM) for 12, 24 and 48 h. In the present study, we found that myricetin suppressed the cell viability of the MCF-7 cells at least partly through the induction of apoptosis as determined by MTT assay and flow cytometry. Western blot analysis revealed that myricetin effectively suppressed the protein expression of p21-activated kinase 1 (PAK1), MEK and phosphorylated extracellular mitogen-activated protein kinase (ERK1/2). In addition, treatment of myricetin activated glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK3β) and Bax protein expression, and inhibited β-catenin/cyclin D1/proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA)/survivin and promoted caspase-3 activity in the MCF-7 cells. These results demonstrated that myricetin suppressed the cell viability of human breast cancer MCF-7 cells through PAK1/MEK/ERK/GSK3β/β-catenin/cyclin D1/PCNA/survivin/Bax-caspase-3 signaling.