The anti-growth effect of a palladium(II) complex-[PdCl(terpy)](sac)center dot 2H(2)O] (sac = saccharinate, and terpy = 2,2':6',2 ''-terpyridine)-was tested against human breast cancer cell lines, MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231. Anti-growth effect was assayed by the MTT and ATP viability assays in vitro and then confirmed on Balb/c mice in vivo. The mode of cell death was determined by both histological and biochemical methods. The Pd(II) complex had anti-growth effect on a dose dependent manner in vitro and in vivo. The cells died by apoptosis as evidenced by the pyknotic nucleus, cleavage of poly-(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) and induction of active caspase-3. These results suggest that the palladium(II) saccharinate complex of terpyridine represents a potentially active novel complex for the breast cancer treatment, thus warrants further studies. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.