Malignant melanoma is the most invasive and fatal form of cutaneous cancer. Moreover it is extremely resistant to conventional chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Apigenin, a non-mutagenic flavonoid, has been found to exhibit chemopreventive and/or anticancerogenic properties in many different types of human cancer cells. Therefore, apigenin may have particular relevance for development as a chemotherapeutic agent for cancer treatment. In the present study, we investigated the effects of apigenin on the viability, migration and invasion potential, dendrite morphology, cell cycle distribution, apoptosis, phosphorylation of the extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase (ERK) and the AKT/mTOR signaling pathway in human melanoma A375 and C8161 cell lines in vitro. Apigenin effectively suppressed the proliferation of melanoma cells in vitro. Moreover, it inhibited cell migration and invasion, lengthened the dendrites, and induced G2/M phase arrest and apoptosis. Furthermore, apigenin promoted the activation of cleaved caspase-3 and cleaved PARP proteins and decreased the expression of phosphorylated (p)‑ERK1/2 proteins, p-AKT and p-mTOR. Consequently, apigenin is a novel therapeutic candidate for melanoma.