Despite the potential of type 1 interferons (IFNs) for the treatment of cancer, clinical experience with IFN protein therapy of solid tumors has been disappointing. IFN-beta has potent antiproliferative activity against most human tumor cells in vitro in addition to its known immunomodulatory activities. The antiproliferative effect, however, relies on IFN-beta concentrations that cannot be achieved by parenteral protein administration because of rapid protein clearance and systemic toxicities. We demonstrate here that ex vivo IFN-beta gene transduction by a replication-defective adenovirus in as few as 1% of implanted cells blocked tumor formation. Direct in vivo IFN-beta gene delivery into established tumors generated high local concentrations of IFN-beta, inhibited tumor growth, and in many cases caused complete tumor regression. Because the mice were immune-deficient, it is likely that the anti-tumor effect was primarily through direct inhibition of tumor cell proliferation and survival. Based on these studies, we argue that local IFN-beta gene therapy with replication-defective adenoviral vectors might be an effective treatment for some solid tumors.