A novel complex [Cd(mef)(2)(CH3OH)](n), 1, has been synthesized by the interaction of Cd(II) with the non-steroidal antiinflammatory drug mefenamic acid, mef, which has been structurally characterized by spectral (IR, UV-Vis) and X-ray crystallography. This complex is a 1D polymer, consisting of hepta-coordinated Cd atoms connected by six oxygen atoms from four different mef ligands and one oxygen atom from a methanol molecule. The coordination geometry around each metal ion is distorted by the bulky mef ligand. Binding of the synthesized complex with calf thymus DNA (CT-DNA) was investigated by spectroscopic methods (UV-Vis, fluorescence, CD spectroscopy) and viscosity measurements. The complex partially intercalated to DNA with high affinity. The antioxidant activities of ligand mef and complex 1 show this complex has better antioxidant activity than the free ligand. The antimicrobial activities of complex 1 are higher against both bacteria and fungi than free Cd2+ or mef. The cytotoxic effect of compound 1 on the human breast cancer cell line (MCF-7) and the bladder cancer cell line (T24) was also much higher than free Cd2+ or mef. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.