Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest of cancers. Even with aggressive therapy, the 5-year survival rate is <5%, mandating development of more effective treatments. Melanoma differentiation-associated gene-7/interleukin-24 (mda-7/IL-24) shows potent antitumor activity against most cancers displaying safety with significant clinical efficacy. However, pancreatic cancer cells display inherent resistance to mda-7/IL-24 that is the result of a "protein translational block" of mda-7/IL-24 mRNA in these tumor cells. We now show that a dietary supplement perillyl alcohol (POH) has significant chemopreventive effects for pancreatic cancer and, when coupled with adenovirus-mediated mda-7/IL-24 gene therapy (Ad.mda-7), effectively eliminates s.c. and i.p. xenografts of human pancreatic cancer cells in nude mice, promoting enhanced survival. The combination of POH and Ad.mda-7 efficiently abrogates the mda-7/IL-24 protein translational block, resulting in MDA-7/IL-24 protein production and growth suppression. Of direct translational relevance, clinically achievable concentrations of POH with Ad.mda-7, both of which have been found safe and without toxic effects in human trials, were used. This novel and innovative approach combining a dietary agent and a virally delivered therapeutic cytokine provides a means of both preventing and treating human pancreatic cancer with significant clinical translational potential. Copyright © 2008 American Association for Cancer Research.