The HER-2/neu gene is frequently amplified and/or its protein product, p185, is overexpressed in a number of human cancers. Overexpression of p185 correlates with poor prognosis and low survival rates in ovarian cancer patients. We previously found that the K1 mutant of SV40 large T antigen inhibits rat neu promoter and suppresses mutation-activated rat neu transformation in mouse fibroblasts. We show here that K1 also inhibits human HER-2/neu promoter in human ovarian cancer cells. To investigate whether K1 can suppress HER-2/neu transformation and thus is a potential therapeutic agent, we used an orthotopic ovarian cancer model in which mice were injected intraperitoneally with HER-2/neu-overexpressing human ovarian cancer cells to induce tumor development. The tumor-bearing mice were then treated with K1-liposome complex weekly. We found that liposome-mediated K1 gene transfer decreased the p185 protein level by K1 expression in these cancer cells and significantly prolonged mice survival; about 40% of these treated mice were alive for more than 1 year without any tumor development. On the other hand, the animals from control groups that did not receive this gene therapy all developed tumors and died within 7 months. The results indicate that liposome-mediated K1 gene transfer is able to suppress tumor development from HER-2/neu-overexpressing ovarian cancer cells in mice.