Cecropia pachystachya is widely used in the traditional medicine as anti-inflammatory, antitusive, expectorant, antiasthmatic and hypoglycemic. It is also commercially available to treat skin cancer. To validate some of the popular uses of this species, its methanol leaves extract (CPM) was tested for anti-inflammatory, antinociceptive and cytotoxic effects. The anti-inflammatory activity was evaluated by croton oil-induced ear edema test. When used orally, the anti-inflammatory effect of CPM at 300 mg/kg was similar to that of indomethacin with 53% inhibition of the ear edema. Also, results on topical treatment were similar to that of dexamethasone with 83% inhibition of the edema. To evaluate the antinociceptive activity, acetic acid-induced writhing and formalin-induced pain tests were employed. CPM (100 and 300 mg/kg) reduced the number of writhing by 61% and 67%, respectively. In both doses, the activity was comparable to the reference drug, indomethacin. The oral administration of CPM was ineffective in the first phase of formalin test but exhibited great effects on the second phase decreasing the licking time by 85% at 300 mg/kg. The cytotoxic potential of CPM was also investigated against HL60, HL60.bcl2 and Jurkat tumor cell lines and showed an inhibition of more than 50% of cell proliferation. The flavones orientin and isoorientin were detected in CPM. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.