We describe the effect of a chemically characterized lipophilic extract obtained from Marthasterias glacialis L. against human breast cancer (MCF-7) and human neuroblastoma (SH-SY5Y) cell lines. Evaluation of DNA synthesis revealed that both cell lines were markedly affected in a concentration-dependent way, SH-SY5Y cell line being more susceptible. Cell cycle arrest was observed, an effect induced by the sterol ergosta-7,22-dien-3-ol present in the extract. Morphological evaluation of treated cells showed the advent of lipid droplets and chromatin condensation compatible with apoptosis, which was confirmed by the evaluation of caspase-3 and -9 activities. Palmitic acid was the main compound responsible for this apoptotic effect by a ceramide-independent mechanism that involved activation of the CHOP-mediated ER-stress pathway.