We aimed to investigate the mechanism and effects of autophagy on cisplatin (DDP)-induced apoptosis in human gastric cancer cell line SGC7901. After SGC7901 cells were treated with DDP and/or chloroquine, cell proliferation was measured using MTT assay; cell apoptosis was determined by flow cytometry; autophagy and apotosis-related proteins expression were detected by Western blot; and quantitative analysis of autophagy after monodansylcadaverine (MDC) staining was performed using fluorescence microscopy. We found after treatment with 5 mg/L DDP for 24 h, the rates of cell apoptosis were (21.07±2.12)%. Autophagy, characterized by an increase in the number of autophagic vesicles and the level of LC3-II protein was observed in cells treated with DDP. After inhibition of autophagy by chloroquine, the rates of cell apoptosis were increased to (30.16±3.54)%, and the level of Caspase-3 and P53 protein were increased, and Bcl-2 protein was decreased. Therefore, autophagy protects human gastric cancer cell line SGC7901 against DDP-induced apoptosis, inhibition of autophagy can promote apoptosis, and combination therapy with DDP and chloroquine may be a promising therapeutic strategy for gastric cancer.