The effects of luteolin on the proliferation of A549 cells were evaluated by MTT and clone formation assays. DNA ploidy and apoptotic cell percentage were calculated by flow cytometry. The expression of Bax, Bcl-xl, Bcl-2, Mcl-1, caspase-9, caspase-3, and PARP was analyzed by Western blotting. The membrane potential of mitochondria was detected by JC-1 fluorescence microscopy assay. Our results demonstrated that luteolin could inhibit the proliferation of A549 cells via induction of apoptosis, with the evidence of characteristic morphological changes of apoptosis in the nucleus. Furthermore, DNA flow cytometric analysis indicated that luteolin induced a S phase arrest of the cell cycle. The membrane potential of mitochondria was decreased. The protein levels of Bax, Bcl-xl, Bcl-2, Mcl-1, caspase-9, caspase-3, and PARP were activated after treatment with luteolin. Luteolin can inhibit the proliferation of A549 cells and trigger mitochondria- dependent apoptosis in them.