Infection of Renca cells in vitro with a recombinant adenovirus expressing a marker gene beta-galactosidase resulted in high level of the transgene expression. Renca tumors grown in Balb/C mice were also infectable with this recombinant adenovirus. The transgene expression in the tumors lasted for about 7 days, however, administration of another dose of Ad-beta gal, on day 7 produced beta-galactosidase expression. To investigate the effect of antibodies to adenovirus, animals were injected with multiple doses of adenovirus to produce neutralizing antibodies. To these animals Renca cells were injected and tumors formed. Interestingly, when Ad beta-gal was administered into these tumors, a high level of transgene expression was still observed. We next explored the utility of a recombinant adenovirus expressing p53 (AdWTp53) in the Renca tumor model. Renca cells when exposed to an adenovirus expressing p53 (AdWTp53) produced a high level of p53 protein, a p53-inducible gene p21/WAF1/Cip1 and underwent apoptosis. A single injection of AdWTp53 (10(9) plaque forming units) resulted in significant inhibition of tumor growth. However, multiple administrations (four doses of 2.5 x 10(8) plaque forming units) of AdWTp53 were needed for tumor cures. Mixing uninfected and AdWTp53-infected cells showed a bystander effect of AdWTp53-infected Renca cells. Based on these results we believe that an appropriate dose scheduling of AdWTp53 can be efficacious for cancer gene therapy in immune-competent tumor-bearing animals.