Research has proven that the most effective and widely used metal-containing chemotherapy anticancer drugs are cisplatin ([cis-PtCl2(NH3)2]) and many platinum complexes, however, these compounds have significant disadvantages including poor water solubility and serious side effects. Thus researches in order to overcome these shortcomings have never interrupted. Many non-platinum complexes have been synthesized and tested, in which some palladium complexes show significant antitumor activity in normal tumor cells and lower resistance of tumor cells to clinical treatments as well as lower side effects. Mononuclear palladium complexes with aromatic N-containing ligands, amino acid ligands, S-donor ligands, and P-containing ligands have respective qualities and properties due to the different structures and properties of the ligands; some dinuclear palladium complexes possess interesting steric structures and good antitumor activity; a try to modify natural medicines with Pd2+ leads the research to a new route. In this review, medicinal chemistry, the development status and interactions of palladium complexes with DNA are discussed in order to provide guidance and determine structure and antitumor activity relationships for continuing studies of these systems.