Peritoneal carcinomatosis is a common clinical situation that requires novel therapeutic approaches. We investigated the efficiency of an HSVtk gene therapy for the treatment of peritoneal carcinomatosis induced in syngeneic rats by DHD/K12 colon carcinoma cells. In this setting, the efficiency of two different retrovirus producing cell lines (GP+AmEnv12 and FLYA13) was compared. Rats treated with a single injection of retrovirus producing cells followed by a 5-day course of ganciclovir treatment showed an increased survival as compared with control animals. Animals treated with three injections of producing cells, each followed by a 4-5-day course of ganciclovir treatment, showed an increased survival as compared with control rats and with those treated with a single cycle of retrovirus producing cells plus ganciclovir. However, only a few animals remained tumor-free after day 180. There was no difference between the two producing cell lines in any of the experiments. RT-PCR demonstrated a faint expression of the tk transgene in the liver, spleen, epiploon, bowels and the lung of the animals injected with the HSVtk producing cells, reflecting most likely the transduction of only a limited number of cells.