In this paper, we present the results of in vitro gene transfer by plasmonic enhanced optoporation of human melanoma cells. The fs-laser based optoporation is a gentle and efficient method for transfection. An optimum perforation rate with efficient dye or DNA uptake and high viability of the cells (~90%) was found for different types of nanostructures, spherical and rod shaped. The technique offers a very high selectivity and the low damage induced to the cell leads to a high transfection efficiency. The cell selectivity of this technique on the one hand is realized by using bioconjugated nanostructures, that couple selectively to a special cell type, and on the other hand, the spatial selectivity is due to the fact that only irradiated cells are perforated. In many biological applications a virus free and efficient transfection method is needed, especially in terms of its use in vivo. In cancer cells, the aggressiveness of the cells is shown in the migration and invasion velocity. The laser based and nanostructure enhanced transfection of cells offers the possibility to directly compare the treated and untreated cells. The treatment for migration and invasion assays can be performed by laser-scraping and laser transfection, resulting in a fully non-contact and therefore sterile method where the shape and the size of the scrape is well defined and reproducible. The laser based scrape test therefore offers less uncertainty due to scrape variations, high transfection efficiency, as well as direct comparison of treated and control cells in the same dish.© (2011) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.