In this study, atomic force microscopy (AFM) is used to investigate the alterations of the poroelastic properties of hepatocellular carcinoma (SMMC-7721) cells treated with fullerenol. The SMMC-7721 cells were subject to AFM-based creep tests, and a corresponding poroelastic indentation model was used to determine the poroelastic parameters by curve fitting. Comparative analyses indicated that the both permeability and diffusion of fullerenol-treated cells increased significantly while their elastic modulus decreased by a small amount. From the change in the trend of the determined parameter, we verified the corresponding alternations of cytoskeleton (mainly filaments actin), which was reported by the previous study using confocal imaging method. Our investigation on SMMC-7721 cell reveals that the poroelastic properties could provide a better understanding how the cancer cells are affected by fullerenol or potentially other drugs which could find possible applications in drug efficacy test, cancer diagnosis and secure therapies.