Sapylin (OK-432) revealed biological properties in cancers. In this study, the effect of sapylin on lung cancer cell A549 was investigated. A549 cell lines were treated with sapylin (0.1, 0.5, and 1 KE/mL) for different time intervals. A549 cell proliferation and apoptosis was determined using 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl-2H-tetrazolium bromide/Ki67 assay and flow cytometry, respectively. Western blot was used to determine the expressions of proteins involved in proliferation, apoptosis, and phosphoinositide 3-kinase/serine/threonine kinase (PI3K/AKT), Wnt3a/β-catenin signaling pathway. Level of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) was insured by using the ROS kit. Sapylin inhibited A549 cell viability and the expressions of proliferation-related proteins (cyclin E1 and D1) in dose- and time-dependent manners. Sapylin promoted apoptosis in a dose- and time-dependent manners. Sapylin also promoted the expressions of apoptotic proteins (cleaved caspase-3 and 8) in dose- and time-dependent manners. Furthermore, sapylin increased the intracellular concentration of ROS in a dose-dependent manner. Besides, the high expression of ROS level might induce inhibition of cell viability and increase cell apoptosis. The mechanistic study revealed that sapylin inactivated the PI3K/AKT and Wnt3a/β-catenin signaling pathways. Our findings suggest that sapylin inhibits proliferation and promotes apoptosis in lung cancer cells, thus providing a new theoretical basis for the treatment of lung cancer. © 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.