Cultured melanoma cell lines despite exhibiting similar in vitro morphology, display significant phenotypic and growth rate differences when propagated as in vivo xenografts. Previously we have shown that Coxsackievirus A21 (CVA21) lytically infects in vitro cultures of malignant melanoma cells and is efficient at reducing the tumor burden of mice bearing slow-growing SK-Mel-28 melanoma xenografts. The oncolytic activity of CVA21 against in vivo melanoma xenografts, which possess rapid growth rates and more extensive vascular structure than SK-Mel-28 xenografts warrants further investigation. In the present study we evaluated the oncolytic action of CVA21 against rapidly growing melanoma xenografts (ME4405) which exhibit a highly vascular phenotype. Flow cytometric analysis indicated that in vitro cultures of ME4405 cells expressed comparable levels of the CVA21 cellular receptors, ICAM-1 (intercellular adhesion molecules-1) and DAF (decay accelerating factor) to SK-Mel-28 cells. Despite similar levels of CVA21 receptor expression, SK-Mel-28 cells appear to be more susceptible to viral lysis than ME4405 cells, even though the kinetics of virus replication in both lines was comparable. Intratumoral, intraperitoneal or intravenous administration of CVA21 were equally effective in reducing the tumor volume of ME4405 xenografts in immunodeficient mice, and provides further evidence for the use of CVA21 as a novel oncolytic agent against varying phenotypes of malignant melanoma.