The HER-2/neu proto-oncogene is frequently amplified or overexpressed in many different types of human cancers, a phenomenon that has been shown to correlate with shorter survival time and lower survival rate in ovarian cancer patients. We previously reported that increased HER-2/neu expression led to more severe malignancy and increased metastatic potential in animal models and that the adenovirus 5 E1A gene repressed HER-2/neu gene expression at transcriptional level and was able to suppress tumor growth when stably transfected into human ovarian cancer SKOV-3 cells which overexpress HER-2/neu. To investigate whether the E1A gene may be used as a therapeutic agent for HER-2/neu-overexpressing human cancers in living hosts, we first developed tumor-bearing mice by injecting SKOV-3 cells that overexpress HER-2/neu intraperitonealy into female nu/nu mice. Five days later, we used cationic liposomes to directly deliver the E1A gene into adenocarcinomas that developed in the peritoneal cavity and on the mesentery of the mice that received the SKOV-3 cell injection. We found that liposome-mediated E1A gene transfer significantly inhibited growth and dissemination of ovarian cancer cells that overexpress HER-2/neu in the treated mice; about 70% of these mice survived at least 365 days, whereas all the control mice that did not receive the gene therapy developed severe tumor symptoms and died within 160 days. The results suggest that liposome-mediated E1A gene transfer may serve as an effective therapy for human ovarian cancers that overexpress HER-2/neu by directly targeting the HER-2/neu oncogene.