VNP20009, a genetically modified strain of Salmonella typhimurium with deletions in the msbB and purI loci, exhibited antitumor activities when given systemically to tumor-bearing mice. VNP20009 inhibited the growth of subcutaneously implanted B16F10 murine melanoma, and the human tumor xenografts Lox, DLD-1, A549, WiDr, HTB177, and MDA-MB-231. A single intravenous injection of VNP20009, at doses ranging from 1 x 10(4) to 3 x 10(6) cfu/mouse, produced tumor growth inhibitions of 57-95%. Tumor volume doubling time, another indicator for tumor growth inhibition, also significantly increased in mice treated with VNP20009. Using mice with immune system deficiencies, we also demonstrated that the antitumor effects of VNP20009 did not depend on the presence of T and B cells. In addition, VNP20009, given intravenously, inhibited the growth of lung metastases in mice. Only live bacteria showed the antitumor effect.