The stilbene resveratrol exerts antiproliferative and proapoptotic actions on a number of different cancer cell lines, through diverse mechanisms, including antioxidant effects, enzyme, growth factor and hormone receptor binding, and nucleic acid direct or indirect interactions. Although resveratrol accumulates in the liver, its effect on hepatocellular carcinoma has not been extensively studied. We have used the human hepatocyte-derived cancer cell line HepG2 to address the possible action of resveratrol on cell growth and to examine some possible mechanisms of action. Our results indicate that the stilbene inhibits potently cell proliferation, reduces the production of reactive oxygen species and induces apoptosis, through cell cycle arrest in G1 and G2/M phases. Furthermore it modulates the NO/NOS system, by increasing iNOS and eNOS expression, NOS activity and NO production. Inhibition of NOS enzymes attenuates its antiproliferative effect. These data could be of value in possible prevention or adjuvant treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma, through an increased consumption of resveratrol-rich foods and beverages.