A total of 24 hybrid compounds containing pyridyl and 1,3-thiazole moieties were screened against HL-60 (leukemia), MCF-7 (breast adenocarcinoma), HepG2 (hepatocellular carcinoma), NCI-H292 (lung carcinoma) human tumor cell lines and non-tumor cells (PBMC, human peripheral blood mononuclear cells). Most of them were highly potent in at least one cell line tested (IC50 ≤ 3 μM), being HL-60 the most sensitive and HepG2 the most resistant cell line. Among them, TAP-07 and TP-07 presented cytotoxic activity in all tumor cell lines, including HepG2 (IC50 2.2 and 5.6 μM, respectively) without antiproliferative effects to normal cells (PBMC) (IC50 > 30 μM), making TAP-07 and TP-07, the compounds with the most favorable selectivity index. TAP-07 and TP-07 induced apoptosis in HepG2 cells and presented in vivo antitumor activity in hepatocellular xenograft cancer model in C.B-17 severe combined immunodeficient mice. Systemic toxicological verified by biochemical and histopathological techniques reveled no major signs of toxicity after treatment with TAP-07 and TP-07. Together the results indicated the anti-liver cancer activity of 2-pyridyl 2,3-thiazole derivatives.