Objective. The transfer of tumor suppresser genes has been shown to revert the malignant phenotype. In this regard, bax is a pro-apoptotic molecule that also functions as a tumor suppresser. The purpose of this study was to evaluate bax as a gene therapeutic in the context of cervical cancer. Methods. Efficiency of viral transduction in cervical cancer cell lines and primary cervical cancer cells was evaluated with an adenoviral vector encoding green fluorescent protein and luciferase, respectively. We generated a recombinant adenoviral vector that encodes the bax gene under inducible conditions. To this end, expression of this pro-apoptotic gene was controlled by a Cre-LoxP system. Following infection with the recombinant bax adenovirus, the viability of cervical cancer cell lines and primary cervical cancer cells was evaluated using crystal violet staining and FACS analysis. Apoptotic cell death was monitored using annexin V staining. Results. High levels of viral infection were observed in all cervical cancer cell lines (>85%) and primary cervical cancer cells. Significant cytotoxicity was seen in all cervical cancer cells lines and, more importantly, patient-derived primary cervical cancer cells. Moreover, bax-mediated cell death occurred via an apoptotic pathway. Conclusions. Our results indicate that a bax recombinant adenoviral vector causes cell death mediated via an apoptotic pathway in multiple cervical cancer cell lines and primary cervical cancer cells. These data suggest that bax may be a candidate for human gene therapy in the setting of cervical carcinoma. © 2001 Academic Press.