We have previously shown that L-methionine inhibits proliferation of breast, prostate, and colon cancer cells. This study extends these findings to BXPC-3 (mutated p53) and HPAC (wild-type p53) pancreatic cancer cells and explores the reversibility of these effects. Cells were exposed to L-methionine (5 mg/ml) for 7 days or for 3 days, followed by 4 days of culture without L-methionine (recovery). Cell proliferation, apoptosis, and cell cycle effects were assessed by flow cytometry after staining for Ki-67 or annexin V/propidium iodide. Cell proliferation was reduced by 31-35% after 7 days of methionine exposure; the effect persisted in BXPC-3 and HPAC cells after 4 days of recovery. Methionine increased apoptosis by 40-75% in HPAC cells, but not in BXPC-3 cells. Continuous exposure to methionine caused accumulation of BXPC-3 cells in the S phase and HPAC cells in both the G0/G1 and S phases; however, after 4 days of recovery, these effects disappeared. In conclusion, L-methionine inhibits proliferation and interferes with the cell cycle of BXPC-3 and HPAC pancreatic cancer cells; the effects on apoptosis remarkably persisted after methionine withdrawal. Apoptosis was induced only in BXPC-3 cells. Some of the differences in the effects of methionine between cell lines may be related to disparate p53 status. These findings warrant further studies on the potential therapeutic benefit of L-methionine against pancreatic cancer. © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.