Aspergillus fumigatus culture filtrate (CF) has a potent cytotoxic effect on three human cancer cell lines (DLKP, A549 and HEp-2) and initiates cell death by apoptosis but the execution of the apoptotic process is incomplete. DLKP cells treated with A. fumigatus CF demonstrate features associated with apoptosis but cytoplasmic and nuclear fragmentation were not observed and cells ultimately underwent necrosis. The apoptotic process commenced in A549 and HEp-2 cells upon exposure to CF, cell shrinkage was observed but membrane blebbing and apoptotic body formation were not detected and detached cells died by necrosis. In contrast, extensive nuclear fragmentation and apoptotic body formation were evident in DLKP and A549 cells treated with anti-neoplastic agents. This work indicates that A. fumigatus CF is cytotoxic to cancer cells and can initiate apoptosis but that the complete apoptotic pathway is not followed.