Diisopropilamine-tethered benzimidazolium salts have been prepared as precursors for Ag(I)-NHC and Au(I)-NHC complexes. These NHC ligands were metallated with Ag2O on moderate conditions to give novel silver-NHC complexes. Gold-NHC complexes have been obtained by transmetalation using the silver-NHC precursor. The structures of all compounds were characterized by H-1 NMR, C-13 NMR, IR and elemental analysis techniques. The cytotoxic properties of the silver(I) and gold(I) complexes have been assessed in various human cancer lines, including cisplatin-sensitive and resistant cell. IC50 values of these four complexes were determined by the MTS based assay on three human cancer cell lines (SHSY5Y, HTC116 and HEP3B) and human healthy cell line (HF). These silver and gold N-heterocyclic carbene complexes have been highlighted metal-based cancer therapeutic agent with unique structures and functions. These strategies provide exciting opportunities for discovering new type metalodrug. (C) 2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.