A series of novel nickel(11) thiosemicarbazone complexes(1-4) have been prepared and characterized by various spectral, analytical techniques and X-ray crystallography. Further, their efficacy to interact with CT-DNA/BSA has been explored. From the binding studies, it is inferred that complex 4 found to be more active than other complexes. The complexes bound with CT-DNA by intercalation mode. Moreover, static quenching was observed for their interaction with BSA. The new complexes were tested for their in vitro cytotoxicity against human lung adenocarcinoma (A549) cell line. The results showed that the new complexes exhibited significant degree of cytotoxicity at given experimental condition. Further, the results of LDH and NO release supported the cytotoxic nature of the complexes. The observed cytotoxicity of the complexes may be routed through ROS-hypergeneration and lipid-peroxidation with subsequent depletion of cellular antioxidant pool (GSH, SOD, CAT, GPx and GST) resulted in the reduction of mitochondrial-membrane potential, caspase-3 activation and DNA fragmentation. Thus, the data from the present study disclose that the complexes could induce apoptosis in A549 cells through mitochondrial mediated fashion and inhibited the migration of lung cancer cells and by metastasis. (C) 2014 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.