The anti-tumor effect of R-Phycoerythrin (R-PE) from Porphyra haitanensis was studied using cell line HeLa as an in vitro model and Sarcoma-180 (S180) tumor-bearing mice as an in vivo model. The results showed that the combination treatment of R-PE and photodynamic therapy PDT) significantly inhibited the growth of HeLa cells up to 81.5%, with a fair dose-effect relationship, but did not inhibit endothelial cells. The annexin v-fitc/PI fluorescence staining experiments demonstrated that at doses between 0~60μg/mL, apoptosis cells and later stage apoptosis cells or necrosis cells increased significantly as the R-PE dosage increased. DNA electrophoresis showed that after R-PE+PDT treatment of HeLa cells for 24 hours, a light "smear" band between 100~400bp appeared to indicate the degradation of genomic DNA. The QRT-PCR results showed that R-PE+PDT treatment increased caspase-3 and caspase-10 gene expression and decreased the Bcl-2 gene expression level significantly as the R-PE dose increased, implying that R-PE promoted HeLa cell apoptosis. Compared with untreated S180 tumor-bearing mice, R-PE injection significantly inhibited the growth of S180 in tumor-bearing mice up to 41.3% at a dose of 300mg-kg-1. Simultaneously, the significant increase of superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity in serum (p < 0.01) and the decrease of the malondialdehyde (MDA) level in liver suggests that R-PE improved the anti-oxidant ability of the S180 tumor-bearing mice, which may related to its antitumor effect. In addition, the R-PE caused a significant increase (p < 0.05) in the spleen index and thymus index, and a significant increase (p < 0.01) in lymphocyte proliferation, NK cell kill activity and the TNF-α level in the serum of S180 tumor-bearing mice. These results strongly suggest that the antitumor effect of R-PE from Porphyra haitanensis functioned by increasing the immunity and antioxidant ability of S180 tumor-bearing mice, promoting apoptosis by increasing protease gene expression and TNF-α secretion.