Poly I:C/poly-L-lysine (poly ICL) was effective in preventing or delaying the development of osteogenic sarcoma (OGS) in mice. C57BL/6J mice were inoculated subcutaneously with 5 X 10(4) OGS cells and treatment was evaluated by palpable tumor development and subsequent day of death. A significant antitumor effect resulted from injection of 150 microgram of poly ICL into the tumor site starting immediately after tumor implant and followed by four subsequent treatments. Seventy percent of treated animals remained tumor free at 50 days, a time at which 70% of placebo treated animals had died as a result of tumor development. A similar treatment regimen of mice inoculated with 2 X 10(5) OGS cells resulted in a significant delay of time to tumor and subsequent day of death. Treatments with poly ICL were ineffective if they were initiated after development of palpable tumor or if they were administered at a nontumorous site on the animal. These findings indicate that the optimal therapy resulted from repeated intratumor treatment prior to development of extensive tumor burden.