Numerous biologic approaches are being investigated as anti-cancer therapies in an attempt to induce tumor regression while circumventing the toxic side effects associated with standard chemo- or radiotherapies. Among these, tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) has shown particular promise in pre-clinical and early clinical trials, due to its preferential ability to induce apoptotic cell death in cancer cells and its minimal toxicity. One limitation of TRAIL use is the fact that many tumor types display an inherent resistance to TRAIL-induced apoptosis. To circumvent this problem, researchers have explored a number of strategies to optimize TRAIL delivery and to improve its efficacy via co-administration with other anti-cancer agents. In this review, we will focus on TRAIL-based gene therapy approaches for the treatment of malignancies. We will discuss the main viral vectors that are being used for TRAIL gene therapy and the strategies that are currently being attempted to improve the efficacy of TRAIL as an anti-cancer therapeutic. © 2011 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.