Bufalin, a major digoxin-like immunoreactive component of the Chinese medicine Chan Su, has been shown to exert a potential for anticancer activity against various human cancer cell lines in vitro. However, no detailed studies have so far been reported on its action on human gallbladder carcinoma cells. In this study, bufalin remarkably inhibited growth in human gallbladder cancer cells by decreasing cell proliferation, inducing cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in a dose-dependent manner. Bufalin also disrupted the mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm) and regulated the expression of cell cycle and apoptosis regulatory molecules. Activation of caspase-9 and the subsequent activation of caspase-3 indicated that bufalin may be inducing mitochondria apoptosis pathways. Intraperitoneal injection of bufalin for 3 weeks significantly inhibited the growth of gallbladder carcinoma (GBC-SD) xenografts in athymic nude mice. Taken together, the results indicate that bufalin may be a potential agent for the treatment of gallbladder cancer.