Resveratrol, a polyphenolic compound, is a naturally occurring phytochemical and is found in a variety of plants, including grapes, berries and peanuts. It has gained much attention for its potential anticancer activity against various types of human cancer. However, the usefulness of resveratrol as a chemotherapeutic agent is limited by its photosensitivity and metabolic instability. In this study the effects of a synthetic analogue of resveratrol, HS-1793, on the proliferation and apoptotic cell death were investigated using HCT116 human colon cancer cells. Although this compound has been reported to have anticancer activities in several human cancer cell lines, the therapeutic effects of HS-1793 on human colon cancer and its mechanisms of action have not been extensively studied. HS-1793 inhibited cell growth and induced apoptotic cell death in a concentration-dependent fashion. Induction of apoptosis was determined by morphological changes, cleavage of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase, alteration of Bax/Bcl-2 expression ratio, and caspase activations. Flow cytometric analysis revealed that HS-1793 induced G2/M arrest in the cell cycle progression in HCT116 cells. Furthermore, HS-1793 showed more potent anticancer effects in several aspects than resveratrol in HCT116 cells. In addition, HS-1793 suppressed Akt and the phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase/Akt inhibitor LY294002 was found to enhance its induction of apoptosis. Thus, these findings suggest that HS-1793 have potential as a candidate chemotherapeutic agent against human colon cancer.