To study the apoptosis induced by cisplatin in cervical cancer cell line HeLa and its mechanism, cell growth inhibition of cisplatin on HeLa cells was analyzed by MTT assay. Cell apoptosis was examined by cytometry and Hoechst33258 staining after treatment with cisplatin. The effects of cisplatin on transcription of E6 were analyzed by RT-PCR. The protein expressions of E6, p53, p21, Bax and Bcl-2 were studied by Western blotting. Cisplatin inhibited proliferation in a time-and dose-dependant manner. Cytometically, sub-G1 peak showed higher apoptosis rates in the experimental group than those in the control. Hoechst33258staining exhibited apoptosis induced by cisplatin. RT-PCR revealed that cisplatin decreased transcription of E6. Western blotting showed that cisplatin decreased protein expression of E6 and increased protein expression of p53, p21 and Bax. It had no effect on protein expression of Bcl-2. It is concluded that cisplatin can induce apoptosis in HeLa cells by suppressing HPV E6 and thereby restoring the function of p53.