Gemcitabine, a nucleoside analogue, is used in the treatment of various solid tumors, however, its efficacy is limited by rapid metabolism by cytidine deaminase and fast kidney excretion. In this study, a polymeric conjugate of gemcitabine was prepared by covalent coupling with poly(lactic-co-glycolic) acid (PLGA), in order to improve anticancer efficacy of the drug. The prepared conjugate was characterized by various analytical techniques including FTIR, NMR and mass spectroscopic analysis. The stability study indicated that the polymeric conjugate was more stable in plasma as compared to native gemcitabine. Further, in vitro cytotoxicity determined in a panel of cell lines including pancreatic cancer (MIAPaCa-2), breast cancer (MCF-7) and colon cancer (HCT-116), indicated that the cytotoxic activity of gemcitabine was retained following conjugation with polymeric carrier. In the nucleoside transportation inhibition assay, it was found that the prepared conjugate was not dependent on nucleoside transporter for entering into the cells and this, in turn, reflecting potential implication of this conjugate in the therapy of transporter- deficient resistance cancer. Further, the cell cycle analysis showed that the sub-G1 (G0) apoptotic population was 46.6% and 60.6% for gemcitabine and PLGA gemcitabine conjugate, respectively. The conjugate produced remarkable decrease in mitochondrial membrane potential, a marker of apoptosis. In addition, there was a marked increase in PARP cleavage and P-H2AX expression with PLGA gemcitabine conjugate as compared to native gemcitabine indicating improved apoptotic activity. The findings demonstrated the potential of PLGA gemcitabine conjugate to improve clinical outcome of gemcitabine based chemotherapy of cancer.