Bromelain, obtained from pineapple, is already in use clinically as adjunct in chemotherapy. Our objective was to test its ability to act as a sole anti-cancer agent. Therefore, we describe its anti-proliferative, anti-inflammatory and subsequent anti-cancer effects in vitro, against human epidermoid carcinoma-A431 and melanoma-A375 cells. Bromelain exhibited reduction in proliferation of both these cell-lines and suppressed their potential for anchorage-independent growth. Further, suppression of inflammatory signaling by bromelain was evident by inhibition of Akt regulated-nuclear factor-kappaB activation via suppression of inhibitory-kappaBα phosphorylation and concomitant reduction in cyclooxygenase-2. Since, the inflammatory cascade is well-known to be closely allied to cancer; we studied the effect of bromelain on events/molecules central to it. Bromelain caused depletion of intracellular glutathione and generation of reactive oxygen-species followed by mitochondrial membrane depolarization. This led to bromelain-induced cell-cycle arrest at G2/M phase which was mediated by modulation of cyclin B1, phospho-cdc25C, Plk1, phospho-cdc2, and myt1. This was subsequently followed by induction of apoptosis, indicated by membrane-blebbing, modulation of Bax-Bcl-2 ratio, Apaf-1, caspase-9, and caspase-3; chromatin-condensation, increase in caspase-activity and DNA-fragmentation. Bromelain afforded substantial anti-cancer potential in these settings; hence we suggest it as a potential prospect for anti-cancer agent besides only an additive in chemotherapy. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.