Replication-defective vectors based on human adenovirus serotypes 2 and 5 (Ad2 and Ad5) possess a number of attributes which favor their use as gene delivery vehicles in gene therapy applications. However, the widespread distribution of the primary cellular receptor for Ad, the coxsackievirus and adenovirus receptor (CAR), allows Ad vectors to infect a broad range of cells in the host. Conversely, a number of tissues which represent important targets for gene therapy, such as the airway epithelium and cancer cells, are refractory to Ad infection due a paucity of CAR. Thus, there is a strong rationale for the development of CAR-independent Ad vectors capable of enhanced specificity and efficiency of gene transfer to target cells. In this article we review the approaches which have been employed to generate tropism-modified Ad vectors. These targeting strategies have led to improvements in the safety and efficacy of Ad vectors and have the potential to yield an increased therapeutic benefit in the human clinical context.