Clinical trials have confirmed the safety of selectively oncolytic adenoviruses for treatment of advanced cancers. However, increasingly effective viruses could result in more toxicity and therefore it would be useful if replication could be abrogated if necessary. We analyzed viruses containing the cyclooxygenase-2 (Cox-2) or vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) promoter for controlling replication. Anti-inflammatory agents can lower Cox-2 protein levels and therefore we hypothesized that also the promoter might be affected. As Cox-2 modulates expression of VEGF, also the VEGF promoter might be controllable. First, we evaluated the effect of anti-inflammatory agents on promoter activity or adenovirus infectivity in vitro. Further, we analyzed the oncolytic potency of the viruses in vitro and in vivo with and without the reagents. Moreover, the effect of on virus replication was analyzed. We found that RGD-4C or Ad5/3 modified fibers improved the oncolytic potency of the viruses in vitro and in vivo. We found that both promoters could be downregulated with dexamethasone, sodium salicylate, or salicylic acid. Oncolytic efficacy correlated with the promoter activity and in vitro virus production could be abrogated with the substances. In vivo, we saw good therapeutic efficacy of the viruses in a model of intravenous therapy of metastatic cervical cancer, but the inhibitory effect of dexamethasone was not strong enough to provide significant differences in a complex in vivo environment. Our results suggest that anti-inflammatory drugs may affect the replication of adenovirus, which might be relevant in case of replication associated side effects. © 2008 Kanerva et al.