Several studies have shown that curcumin, which is derived from the rhizomes of turmeric, possesses antimicrobial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The antitumor properties of curcumin have also now been demonstrated more recently in different cancers. This study was undertaken to investigate the modulation of cell cycle-related proteins and the mechanisms underlying apoptosis induction by curcumin in the SCC25 human tongue squamous cell carcinoma cell line. Curcumin treatment of the SCC25 cells resulted in a time- and dose-dependent reduction in cell viability and cell growth, and onset of apoptotic cell death. The curcumin-treated SCC25 cells showed several types of apoptotic manifestations, such as nuclear condensation, DNA fragmentation, reduced MMP and proteasome activity, and a decreased DNA content. In addition, the treated SCC25 cells showed a release of cytochrome c into the cytosol, translocation of AIF and DFF40/CAD into the nuclei, a significant shift in the Bax/Bcl-2 ratio, and the activation of caspase-9, caspase-7, caspase-6, caspase-3, PARP, lamin A/C, and DFF45/ICAD. Furthermore, curcumin exposure resulted in a downregulation of G1 cell cycle-related proteins and upregulation of p27KIP1. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that curcumin strongly inhibits cell proliferation by modulating the expression of G1 cell cycle-related proteins and inducing apoptosis via proteasomal, mitochondrial, and caspase cascades in SCC25 cells.