Fucoxanthin (FX) is a natural carotenoid with reported antitumorigenic activity. This study explored the effects of FX and its deacetylated product, fucoxanthinol (FXOH), on B-cell malignancies, including Burkitt's lymphoma, Hodgkin's lymphoma and Epstein-Barr virus-immortalized B cells. Both FX and FXOH reduced the viability of these malignant B cells in a dose-dependent manner accompanied by the induction of cell cycle arrest during G1 phase and caspase-dependent apoptosis. FXOH was approximately twice more potent than FX in these activities. In contrast, normal peripheral blood mononuclear cells were resistant to FX and FXOH. Strong and constitutive activation of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) is a common characteristic of many B-cell malignancies, and FXOH suppressed constitutive NF-κB activity. NF-κB inhibition was accompanied by downregulation of NF-κB-dependent anti-apoptotic and cell cycle regulator gene products, including Bcl-2, cIAP-2, XIAP, cyclin D1 and cyclin D2. The results indicated that FX and FXOH are potentially useful therapeutic agents in B-cell malignancies characterized by aberrant regulation of NF-κB.