Epidemiological data indicate that the daily consumption of extra‑virgin olive oil (EVOO), a common dietary habit of the Mediterranean area, lowers the incidence of certain types of cancer, in particular bladder neoplasm. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the antiproliferative activity of polyphenols extracted from EVOO on bladder cancer (BCa), and to clarify the biological mechanisms that trigger cell death. Furthermore, we also evaluated the ability of low doses of extra‑virgin olive oil extract (EVOOE) to modulate the in vitro activity of paclitaxel or mitomycin, two antineoplastic drugs used in the management of different types of cancer. Our results showed that EVOOE significantly inhibited the proliferation and clonogenic ability of T24 and 5637 BCa cells in a dose‑dependent manner. Furthermore, cell cycle analysis after EVOOE treatment showed a marked growth arrest prior to mitosis in the G2/M phase for both cell lines, with the subsequent induction of apoptosis only in the T24 cells. Notably, simultaneous treatment of mitomycin C and EVOOE reduced the drug cytotoxicity due to inhibition of ROS production. Conversely, the co‑treatment of T24 cells with paclitaxel and the polyphenol extract strongly increased the apoptotic cell death at each tested concentration compared to paclitaxel alone. Our results support the epidemiological evidence indicating that olive oil consumption exerts health benefits and may represent a starting point for the development of new anticancer strategies.