3,3′-Diindolylmethane (DIM) is the major in vivo product of acid-catalyzed oligomerization of indole-3-carbinol, which is a promising anticancer agent present in cruciferous vegetables and has itself been reported to have anticarcinogenic properties. This study examined DIM-mediated regulation of apoptosis in the HCT116 (wild-type p53) and HT-29 (mutant p53) human colon cancer cell lines. DIM (0-30 μmol/L) substantially decreased the number of viable cells and induced apoptosis of HCT116 and HT-29 cells in a concentration-dependent manner. Western-blot analyses of total cell lysates revealed that DIM increased the activation of caspase-3, -7, -8, and -9 and enhanced poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase cleavage in both HCT116 and HT-29 cells. In addition, DIM increased the translocation of cytochrome c and Smac/Diablo from the mitochondria to the cytoplasm. In concert with the caspase-8 activation by DIM, increased levels of Fas and truncated Bid were observed. DIM did not affect the protein levels of p53, Bcl-2, Bax, or Fas ligand (FasL) in HCT116 cells. In HT-29 cells, however, DIM decreased Bcl-2 levels, although the protein levels of Bax or FasL were not affected. The caspase-8 inhibitor Z-IETD-FMK attenuated the DIM-induced apoptosis, indicating that increased activation of this enzyme contributed to the increase in p53-independent apoptosis that was observed in colon cancer cells. We have demonstrated that DIM induces apoptosis in colon cancer cells, providing insights into the mechanisms underlying its antitumorigenic activities.