Selenocyanates and diselenides are potential antitumor agents. Here we report two series of selenium derivatives related to selenocyanates and diselenides containing carboxylic, amide and imide moieties. These compounds were screened for their potency and selectivity against seven tumor cell lines and two non-malignant cell lines. Results showed that MCF-7 cells were especially sensitive to the treatment, with seven compounds presenting GI(50) values below 10 mu M. Notably, the carboxylic selenocyanate 8b and the cyclic imide 10a also displayed high selectivity for tumor cells. Treatment of MCF-7 cells with these compounds resulted in cell cycle arrest at S phase, increased levels of pJNK and pAMPK and caspase independent cell death. Autophagy inhibitors wortmannin and chloroquine partially prevented 8b and 10a induced cell death. Consistent with autophagy, increased Beclinl and LC3-IIB and reduced SQSTM1/p62 levels were detected. Our results point to 8b and 10a as autophagic cell death inducers. Published by Elsevier Masson SAS.