Background. Oncolytic adenoviral therapy is a promising new approach for cancer treatment. The aim of this study was to improve the conditionally replicative adenoviruses (CRAds) for gallbladder cancer therapy by modifying the fiber-knob region for infectivity enhancement and by incorporating tumor-specific promoters (TSPs) for enhanced specificity. Methods. For promoter-controlled replication, in vitro efficacy of eight TSPs was investigated in two gallbladder cancer cell lines (NOZ and OCUG-1). Infectivity enhancement was analyzed by two different fiber modifications: Arg-Gly-Asp (RGD) incorporation into the HI loop (RGD modification) and a chimeric construct with a serotype 5 shaft and a serotype 3 knob (5/3 fiber modification). Comparisons were made by infectivity analysis and cytotoxicity assays in vitro, followed by tumor suppressive effects tested in vivo. Results. Among TSPs, highest potency was exhibited by the cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), Midkine, and vascular endothelial growth factor promoters in both cell lines tested. Fiber chimera (Ad5/3Luc1) conferred significant enhancement of Ad infectivity in comparison with unmodified and RGD-modified vectors. COX-2 CRAds demonstrated selective cytocidal effect in gallbladder cancer cells in vitro. COX-2 promoter-based Ad5/3 CRAds showed significantly enhanced tumor-suppressive effect compared with nonreplicative and RGD-modified CRAd vectors in vivo. Conclusions. The 5/3 fiber-modified, COX-2 promoter-driven CRAds may prove to be a new agent for the treatment of gallbladder carcinoma. © 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.