Apigenin is a flavonoid widely presented in fruits and vegetables, and is known to possess anti‑inflammatory, antioxidant, and anticancer properties. The present study was designed to investigate the effects of apigenin on renal cell carcinoma (RCC) cells. These effects on cell growth were evaluated using a cell counting kit, while cell cycle distribution was investigated by flow cytometry following propidium iodide DNA staining. The human RCC cell lines, Caki‑1, ACHN, and NC65, were each treated with 1‑100 µM apigenin for 24 h, which resulted in concentration‑dependent cell growth inhibition, with the effects confirmed by trypan blue staining. Furthermore, even when the apigenin treatment period was shortened to 3 h, the same cytostatic effect on RCC cells was noted. Similarly, a concentration‑dependent cell growth inhibitory effect was also observed in primary RCC cells, as apigenin induced G2/M phase cell cycle arrest and reduced the expression levels of cyclin A, B1, D3, and E in RCC cells in both dose‑ and time‑dependent manners. These findings suggest the possibility of the use of apigenin as a novel therapeutic strategy for treatment of RCC due to its anticancer activity and ability to function as a cell cycle modulating agent.