This study examined the effects of gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) and/or ionizing radiation (IR) on the viability and motility of human primary colon epithelial (CCD841) and colorectal adenocarcinoma (SW48) cells as well as human primary epidermal melanocytes (HEM) and melanoma (MM418-C1) cells. AuNPs up to 4 mM had no effect on the viability of these cell lines. The viability of the cancer cells was ~60% following exposure to 5 Gy. Exposure to 5 Gy X-rays or 1 mM AuNPs showed the migration of the cancer cells ~85% that of untreated controls, while co-treatment with AuNPs and IR decreased migration to ~60%. In the non-cancerous cell lines gap closure was enhanced by ~15% following 1 mM AuNPs or 5 Gy treatment, while for co-treatment it was ~22% greater than that for the untreated controls. AuNPs had no effect on cell re-adhesion, while IR enhanced only the re-adhesion of the cancer cell lines but not their non-cancerous counterparts. The addition of AuNPs did not enhance cell adherence. This different reaction to AuNPs and IR in the cancer and normal cells can be attributed to radiation-induced adhesiveness and metabolic differences between tumour cells and their non-cancerous counterparts.