Metal-based drugs have shown early promise as anticancer agents suggesting the potential application of silver(I) complexes as apoptosis-inducing agents. The ability of a silver(I) cyanide containing phosphine complex to induce cell death was evaluated in both a malignant (SNO esophageal cancer) and non-malignant (HDF-a skin and HEK293 kidney) cell lines. A dose-dependent decrease in cell viability was observed in the SNO cells. Light microscopy revealed morphological features indicative of apoptotic cell death. The mode of cell death was confirmed as apoptosis by phosphatidylserine externalization, DNA fragmentation and nuclear condensation. Furthermore, both the non-malignant cell lines showed morphological features indicative of apoptosis when exposed to complex 1. We propose the use of this silver(I) cyanide phosphine complex as an highly effective positive apoptosis control for use in anticancer studies of phosphine complexes.