Two new platinum(II) complexes, trans-[Pt(2-mpy)(2)]center dot 4H(2)O (1) and [PtCl(2-pyc)(2-hmpy)]center dot H2O (2), where 2-hmpy = 2-(hydroxymethyl)pyridine, 2-mpy = deprotonated 2-hmpy and 2-pyc = pyridine-2-carboxylate, have been synthesized and characterized by elemental analysis, IR, NMR, and X-ray crystallography. The DNA binding affinities of these complexes for Fish Sperm DNA (FS-DNA) were investigated using fluorescence, viscosity, thermal denaturation and gel electrophoresis measurements. Fluorescence analysis indicates that complex 1 binds to DNA by a single intercalative mechanism, while complex 2 exhibits two types of interactions such as intercalation and covalent binding. Gel electrophoresis assay demonstrates ability of the complexes to cleavage the supercoiled 0311322 plasmid DNA. The in vitro cytotoxicities of both complexes were preliminarily evaluated and the cytotoxicity of complex 1 against the human lung cancer cells (H1299) is similar to oxaliplatin, but higher than transplatin and carboplatin. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.