Capsaicin is a spicy capsaicinoid, produced as secondary metabolite by Capsicum fruits. This alkaloid has been used for years in folk medicine for its analgesic and antinflammatory properties although most data is referred to the raw fruit. In this study, the antiradical activity of the pure capsaicin has been studied using 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) and 2,2′-azino-bis(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulphonic acid) (ABTS) assays as well as its antiproliferative activity, using MTT assay, against two human tumour cell lines, the colorectal Caco-2 and the oesophageal OE19 cells. Furthermore, the antiproliferative activity observed on tumoral cells was compared with that of the human normal-like fibroblast cell line TelCOFS02MA. In addition, the apoptotic activity was evaluated using TUNEL assay. A higher radical scavenging activity was observed against ABTS radical cation than DPPH. Capsaicin showed also a higher cytotoxicity against cancer cells than normal-like cells with Selectivity index values greater than 2 at 72 h. Capsaicin induced apoptosis especially in OE19 cell line.