Recombinant interferon alpha-2 (IFN-alpha2) has proven useful for treating a variety of human cancers and viral diseases. IFN-alpha2 has a short circulating half-life in vivo, which necessitates daily or thrice weekly administration to patients. It is possible to extend the circulating half-life of IFN-alpha2 by random modification of lysine residues in the protein with polyethylene glycol (PEG); however, such preparations have heterogeneous structures and low specific activities, and may not provide optimal therapeutic benefits to patients. A long-acting, site-specific, monoPEGylated IFN-alpha2 protein has now been created by targeted attachment of a 20 kDa or a 40 kDa maleimide-PEG to a cysteine analogue of IFN-alpha2, M111C. In vitro bioactivities of the purified 20 kDa and 40 kDa PEG-M111C proteins were within 2- to 3-fold of those of wild type IFN-alpha2 and 7- to 10-fold better than that of a 40 kDa PEG IFN-alpha2 protein created using nontargeted, amine-PEGylation methodology. The 20 kDa and 40 kDa PEG-M111C proteins demonstrated 26- to 38-fold longer half-lives, respectively, than IFN-alpha2 following subcutaneous administration to rats. The 20 kDa PEG M111C protein inhibited growth of human NIH:OVCAR-3 cells transplanted into nude mice by >90%, as measured by tumor size, tumor weight, and number of animals with detectable tumors at necropsy, and was significantly more effective than a comparable dose of IFN-alpha2. These data extend our previous findings that bioactivity of IFN-alpha2 can be largely preserved by targeted attachment of PEG moieties to nonessential sites in the protein and provide evidence that site-specific PEGylated IFN-alpha2 proteins possess enhanced tumoricidal properties in vivo.