Purpose: To investigate the anticancer effects and underlying mechanisms of parthenolide on HepG2 human hepatocellular carcinoma cells. Materials and Methods: Cell viability was assessed by MTT assay and cell apoptosis through DAPI, TUNEL staining and Western blotting. Monodansylcadaverin(MDC) and AO staining were used to detect cell autophagy. Cell proliferation was assessed by Ki67 immunofluorescence staining. Results: Parthenolide induced growth inhibition in HepG2 cells. DAPI and TUNEL staining showed that parthenolidecould increase the number of apoptotic nuclei, while reducing the expression of the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2 and elevating the expression of related proteins, like p53, Bax, cleaved caspase9 and cleaved caspase3. Parthenolide could induce autophagy in HepG2 cells and inhibited the expression of proliferation-related gene, Ki-67. Conclusions: Parthenolide can exert anti-cancer effects by inducing cell apoptosis, activating autophagy and inhibiting cell proliferation.