Gastric cancer represents a significant global health concern, necessitating the exploration of novel therapeutic options. Diosmetin, a natural flavonoid derived from citrus and vegetables, has demonstrated promising anti-tumor activity against various tumor cells. However, the potential anticancer effect of diosmetin in gastric cancer and its underlying mechanism have yet to be elucidated. In this study, we aimed to investigate the impact of diosmetin on cell proliferation, migration, cell cycle progression and apoptosis in human gastric cancer HGC-27 cells. Our findings revealed that diosmetin effectively suppressed cell proliferation, induced G2/M phase cell cycle arrest, and triggered cell apoptosis. Mechanistically, diosmetin downregulated the expression of antiapoptotic proteins Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL, while upregulated the level of proapoptotic proteins such as Bax, cleaved PARP and cleaved caspase-3. Additionally, diosmetin inhibited Akt and FoxO1 phosphorylation, while activated the MAPK signaling pathway. Notably, pretreatment of IGF-1, an Akt activator, attenuated the diosmetin-induced apoptosis. Furthermore, pretreatment with SP600125, a JNK inhibitor, significantly reduced the protein level of LC3B, while promoted the expression of cleaved caspase-3 and cleaved PARP. Collectively, our results suggest that diosmetin holds promise as an effective therapeutic agent against gastric cancer by inducing apoptosis through inhibition of the Akt/FoxO1 pathway and promoting protective autophagy via the MAPK/JNK signaling pathway.© 2023. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.