Recombinant adenovirus (Ad) vectors provide a means of local, therapeutic gene delivery to a wide range of neoplasms. Ad-mediated gene therapy trials in malignant glioma models have been limited by the need for high viral titers and multiple dosages. In an attempt to improve Ad vector gene transfer, we studied human (U87, D54) and rodent (GL261, C6) malignant glioma cell lines transfected with various doses of unmodified Ad vectors (AdZ), Ad vectors that contain an alteration of the fiber-coat protein and that direct virus binding to heparan sulfate receptors (AdZ.F(pK7)), and Ad vectors with modifications of the fiber-coat protein that direct virus binding to alpha1, integrin cellular receptors (AdZ.F(RGD)). AdZ.F(pK7) increased the frequency of cells expressing the reporter gene, beta-galactosidase, and improved transduction by 2- to 20-fold compared with AdZ in U87, D54, and GL261 cells. In U87, D54, GL261, and C6 tumors, AdZ.F(pK7) increased gene transfer by 10- to 100-fold compared with AdZ. AdZ.F(RGD) increased gene expression in C6 xenografts compared with AdZ, but had reduced transduction compared with the C6 xenografts of AdZ in all other glioma tumors. These findings suggest that the increased tropisms resulting from alterations of the Ad vector fiber-coat protein as in AdZ.F(pK7) and AdZ.F(RGD) offer a feasible approach to improving in vitro and in vivo transduction efficiencies in certain malignant glioma cell lines.