Background: Morus nigra L. belongs to the family Moraceae and is frequently used in traditional medicine. Numerous studies have investigated the antiproliferative effects of various extracts of different Morus species, but studies involving the in vitro cytotoxic effect of M. nigra extract are very limited. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the phenolic composition and antioxidant activity of dimethyl sulfoxide extract of M. nigra (DEM) and to investigate, for the first time, the probable cytotoxic effect in human prostate adenocarcinoma (PC- 3) cells together with the mechanism involved. Methods: Total polyphenolic contents (TPC), ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) and phenolic compounds of DEM were evaluated using spectrophotometric procedures and HPLC. The cytotoxic effect of DEM on PC-3 cells was revealed using the MTT assay. Mechanisms involved in the cytotoxic effect of DEM on PC-3 cells were then investigated in terms of apoptosis, mitochondrial membrane potential and cell cycle using flow cytometry, while caspase activity was investigated using luminometric analysis. Results: TPC and FRAP values were 20.7 +/- 0.3 mg gallic acid equivalents and 48.8 +/- 1.6 mg trolox equivalents per g sample, respectively. Ascorbic acid and chlorogenic acid were the major phenolic compounds detected at HPLC analysis. DEM arrested the cell cycle of PC-3 cells at the G1 phase, induced apoptosis via increased caspase activity and reduced mitochondrial membrane potential. Conclusions: Our results indicate that M. nigra may be a novel candidate for the development of new natural product based therapeutic agents against prostate cancer. (C) 2016 The Authors.