Marine cyanobacteria have been considered a rich source of secondary metabolites with potential biotechnological applications, namely in the pharmacological field. Chemically diverse compounds were found to induce cytoxicity, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial activities. The potential of marine cyanobacteria as anticancer agents has however been the most explored and, besides cytotoxicity in tumor cell lines, several compounds have emerged as templates for the development of new anticancer drugs. The mechanisms implicated in the cytotoxicity of marine cyanobacteria compounds in tumor cell lines are still largely overlooked but several studies point to an implication in apoptosis. This association has been related to several apoptotic indicators such as cell cycle arrest, mitochondrial dysfunctions and oxidative damage, alterations in caspase cascade, alterations in specific proteins levels and alterations in the membrane sodium dynamics. In the present paper a compilation of the described marine cyanobacterial compounds with potential anticancer properties is presented and a review on the implication of apoptosis as the mechanism of cell death is discussed.