Correlation between apoptosis and UVA-induced ultraweak photon emission delayed luminescence (DL) from tumor thyroid cell lines was investigated. In particular, the effects of berberine, an alkaloid that has been reported to have anticancer activities, on two cancer cell lines were studied. The FTC-133 and 8305C cell lines, as representative of follicular and anaplastic thyroid human cancer, respectively, were chosen. The results show that berberine is able to arrest cell cycle and activate apoptotic pathway as shown in both cell lines by deoxyribonucleic acid fragmentation, caspase-3 cleavage, p53 and p27 protein overexpression. In parallel, changes in DL spectral components after berberine treatment support the hypothesis that DL from human cells originates mainly from mitochondria, since berberine acts especially at the mitochondrial level. The decrease of DL blue component for both cell lines could be related to the decrease of intra-mitochondrial nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide and may be a hallmark of induced apoptosis. In contrast, the response in the red spectral range is different for the two cell lines and may be ascribed to a different iron homeostasis.