Two novel Cd(II) and Zn(II) complexes with the condensation product of 2-formylpyridine and selenosemicarbazide were synthesized. The structure of Cd(II) complex was determined by X-ray crystallography. The ligand is coordinated in a neutral form via pyridine and azomethine nitrogen atoms and the selenium donor. The cadmium ion completes its five-coordination by two chloride ligands, forming a square-pyramidal geometry. The structure of Zn(II) complex was established by analysis of spectroscopic data, which indicated coordination of the ligand as a bidentate via the selenium and the azomethine nitrogen atoms. The cytotoxic activity of the newly synthesized complexes, as well as if five structurally related complexes and the ligand evaluated against eight tumor cell lines. The new Cd(II) complex showed the highest activity similar to cisplatin with IC50 less than 10muM for all cell lines. Cell cycle distribution and apoptosis study showed that Cd(II) complex and cisplatin might have some similarity in anticancer activity, which was not the case for cisplatin and other studied complexes. Effects of the complexes on matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) MMP-9 and MMP-2 was also studied. Cd(II) and Zn(II) complexes and cisplatin increased MMP-2 activity in supernatants of tested cells, while Ni(II) complex with the same ligand decreased the activity, implying a possible activity in preventing tumor invasion and metastasis processes.