This review begins with an introduction to the malignant bone tumor, osteosarcoma [OS] and then moves to a discussion of the commonly used vectors for gene transfer. We first briefly highlight non-viral vectors including polymeric and liposomal delivery systems but concentrate predominantly on the 5 leading viral vectors used in cancer gene therapy, specifically retroviruses, adeno-associated viruses, herpes viruses and lentiviruses with the most detailed analysis reserved for adenoviruses. The 3 main strategies for gene therapy in osteosarcoma are next summarized. As part of this review, the several prodrug-converting enzymes utilized in OS suicide gene therapy are examined. The text then turns to a discussion of adenovirus-mediated gene transfer and the need for tumor targeting via transductional or transcriptional approaches. Because of practical problems with use of replication-incompetent viruses in achieving complete tumor kill in vivo, virotherapy utilizing replication competent viruses has come to the fore. This topic is, thus, next reviewed which allows for a natural transition to a discussion of armed therapeutic viruses many of which are conditionally replicating adenoviruses carrying transgenes with established anti-tumor efficacy. We recognize that several other issues have arisen which hamper progress in the field of cancer gene therapy. We, therefore, review viral-induced toxicity in the host and vector delivery issues which have been found to potentially influence safety. We end with a brief perspective including commenting on animal models used in examining delivery strategies for osteosarcoma gene therapy. The challenges remaining are touched upon most especially the need to deal with pulmonary metastatic disease from OS. © 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.