Different approaches have been proposed to treat cancer cells using gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) in combination with radiation ranging from infrared lasers to high-energy ion beams. Here we study the decomposition of the DNA/RNA nucleobases thymine (T) and uracil (U) and the well-known radiosensitizer 5-bromouracil (BrU) in close vicinity to AuNPs, which are irradiated with a nanosecond pulsed laser (532 nm) matching the surface plasmon resonance of the AuNPs. The induced damage of nucleobases is analyzed by UV–vis absorption spectroscopy and surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS). A clear DNA damage is observed upon laser irradiation. SERS spectra indicate the fragmentation of the aromatic ring system of T and U as the dominant form of damage, whereas with BrU mainly the cleavage of the Br–C bond and formation of Br–ions is observed. This is accompanied by a partial transformation of BrU into U. The observed damage is at least partly ascribed to the intermediate formation of low-energy electrons from the laser-excited AuNPs and subsequent dissociative electron attachment to T, U, and BrU. These reactions represent basic DNA damage pathways occurring on the one hand in plasmon-assisted cancer therapy and on the other hand in conventional cancer radiation therapy using AuNPs as sensitizing agents.