This study first investigates the anticancer effect of kotomolide A (KTA) in human non-small cell lung cancer cells, A549. KTA has exhibited effective cell growth inhibition by inducing cancer cells to undergo G2/M phase arrest and apoptosis. Blockade of cell cycle was associated with increased the activation of ataxia telangiectasia-mutated (ATM). Activation of ATM by KTA phosphorylated p53 at Serine15, resulting in increased stability of p53 by decreasing p53 and murine double minute-2 (MDM2) interaction. In addition, KTA-mediated G2/M phase arrest also was associated with the decrease in the amounts of cyclinB1, cyclinA, Cdc2 and Cdc25C and increase in the phosphorylation of Chk2, Cdc25C and Cdc2. Specific ATM inhibitor, caffeine, significantly decreased KTA-mediated G2/M arrest by inhibiting the phosphorylation of p53 (Serine15) and Chk2. KTA treatment triggered the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway indicated by a change in Bax/Bcl-2 ratios, resulting in mitochondrial membrane potential loss and caspase-9 activation. Taken together, these results suggest a critical role for ATM and p53 in KTA-induced G2/M arrest and apoptosis of human non-small cell lung cancer cells.