Synthesis and identification of novel phenylalkyl isoselenocyanates (ISCs), isosteric selenium analogues of naturally occurring phenylalkyl isothiocyanates (ITCs), as effective cytotoxic and antitumor agents are described. The structure-activity relationship comparison of ISCs with ITCs and effect of the increasing alkyl chain length in inhibiting cancer cell growth were evaluated on melanoma, prostate, breast, glioblastoma, sarcoma, and colon cancer cell lines. IC(50) values for ISC compounds were generally lower than their corresponding ITC analogues. Similarly, in UACC 903 human melanoma cells, the inhibition of cell proliferation and induction of apoptosis were more pronounced with ISCs compared to ITCs. Further, ISCs and ITCs effectively inhibited melanoma tumor growth in mice following intraperitoneal xenograft. A similar reduction in tumor size was observed at 3 times lower doses of ISCs compared to corresponding ITCs.