Conditionally replicating herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1) vectors are promising therapeutic agents for cancer. Insertion of therapeutic transgenes into the viral genome should confer desired anticancer functions in addition to oncolytic activities. Herein, using bacterial artificial chromosome and two recombinase-mediated recombinations, we simultaneously created four "armed" oncolytic HSV-1, designated vHsv-B7.1-Ig, vHsv-interleukin (IL)-12, vHsv-IL-18, and vHsv-null, which express murine soluble B7.1 (B7.1-Ig), murine IL-12, murine IL-18, and no transgene, respectively. These vHsv vectors possess deletions in the gamma34.5 genes and contain the green fluorescent protein gene as a histochemical marker and the immunostimulatory transgene inserted in the deleted ICP6 locus. The vHsv showed similar replicative capabilities in vitro. The in vivo efficacy was tested in A/J mice harboring s.c. tumors of syngeneic and poorly immunogenic Neuro2a neuroblastoma. The triple combination of vHsv-B7.1-Ig, vHsv-IL-12, and vHsv-IL-18 exhibited the highest efficacy among all single vHsv or combinations of two viruses. Combining 1 x 10(5) plaque-forming units each of the three armed viruses showed stronger antitumor activities than any single armed virus at 3 x 10(5) plaque-forming units in inoculated tumors as well as in noninoculated remote tumors. Studies using athymic mice indicated that this enhancement of antitumor efficacy was likely mediated by T-cell immune responses. The combined use of multiple oncolytic HSV-1 armed with different immunostimulatory genes may be a useful strategy for cancer therapy.