The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of molecularly targeted gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) on tumor radiosensitization both in vitro and in vivo. Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor-2 (HER-2)-targeted AuNPs (Au-T) were synthesized by conjugating trastuzumab (Herceptin) to 30 nm AuNPs. In vitro, the cytotoxicity of Au-T or non-targeted AuNPs (Au-P) was assessed by γ-H2AX immunofluorescence microscopy for DNA damage and clonogenic survival assays. In vivo, athymic mice bearing subcutaneous MDA-MB-361 xenografts were treated with a single dose of 11 Gy of 100 kVp X-rays 24 h after intratumoral injection of Au-T (~0.8 mg of Au) or no X-radiation. Normal tissue toxicity was determined by hematology or biochemistry parameters. The combination of Au-P or Au-T with X-ray exposure increased the formation of γ-H2AX foci by 1.7 (P = 0.054) and 3.3 (P = 0.024) fold in comparison to X-radiation alone, respectively. The clonogenic survival of cells exposed to Au-T and X-rays was significantly lower from that of cells exposed to X-radiation alone, which translated to a dose enhancement factor of 1.6. In contrast, survival of cells exposed to Au-P and X-rays versus X-radiation alone were not significantly different. In vivo, the combination of Au-T and X-radiation resulted in regression of MDA-MB-361 tumors by 46 % as compared to treatment with X-radiation (16.0 % increase in tumor volume). No significant normal tissue toxicity was observed. Radiosensitization of breast cancer to X-radiation with AuNPs was successfully achieved with an optimized therapeutic strategy of molecular targeting of HER-2 and intratumoral administration.