Long-term survivors of glioblastoma multiforme, the most common form of primary intracranial malignancy in adults, are extremely rare. Experimental animal models that more closely resemble human disease are essential for the identification of effective novel therapies. We report here an extensive analysis of the 4C8 glioma model to assess its suitability for evaluating novel type 1 herpes simplex virus (HSV-1) therapies of malignant glioma. We first determined that expression of major histocompatibility complex I and II and of αvβ3 in the 4C8 model was comparable to that seen in human glioma cells. Next, using a panel of Δγ134.5 HSVs, we demonstrated that, in vitro, 4C8 cells were as sensitive as human glioma cells to both infection and lysis and that the 4C8 cells supported the production of foreign gene products. Replication competence of HSV was demonstrated in vitro. Finally, 4C8 intracranial gliomas were established in immunologically competent syngeneic B6D2F1 mice, treated by intratumoral injection of selected engineered HSVs, including the interleukin-12-expressing virus, M002. Survival data from these studies demonstrated that 4C8 cells in vivo are sensitive to both direct oncolysis and HSV-mediated interleukin-12 expression. Fluorescence-activated cell sorting analyses of immune-related infiltrating cells supported the concept that survival was prolonged in part because of antitumor actions of these cells. We conclude that the 4C8/B6D2F1 syngeneic glioma model is suitable for preclinical evaluation of HSV-based therapies and that M002 is a superior virus for the treatment of murine glioma in this model. Copyright © 2005 by the Society for Neuro-Oncology.