HSV-1716, a replicating nonneurovirulent herpes simplex virus type 1, has shown efficacy in treating multiple types of human tumors in immunodeficient mice. Since the majority of the human population has been previously exposed to herpes simplex virus, the efficacy of HSV-based oncolytic therapy was investigated in an immunocompetent animal tumor model. EJ-6-2-Bam-6a, a tumor cell line derived from h-ras-transformed murine fibroblast, exhibit a diffuse growth pattern in the peritoneal cavity of BALB/c mice and replicate HSV-1716 to titers observed in human tumors. An established intraperitoneal (ip) tumor model of EJ-6-2-Bam-6a in naive and HSV-immunized mice was used to evaluate the efficacy of single or multiple ip administrations of HSV-1716 (4 x 10(6) pfu/treatment) or of carrier cells, which are irradiated, ex vivo virally infected EJ-6-2-Bam-6a cells that can amplify the viral load in situ. All treated groups significantly prolonged survival versus media control with an approximately 40% long-term survival rate (cure) in the multiply treated, HSV-naive animals. Prior immunization of the mice with HSV did not significantly decrease the median survival of the single or multiply treated HSV-1716 or the carrier cell-treated groups. These studies support the development of replication-selective herpes virus mutants for use in localized intraperitoneal malignancies.