Strategies have been developed to abrogate the aberrant expression of dominant oncogenes as a means to accomplish targeted tumor eradication. We have demonstrated previously the utility of this approach using a hammerhead ribozyme designed to cleave the mutant sequence in codon 12 of the activated H-ras oncogene transcript To develop this strategy into a practical means to approach malignant disease, methods must be developed to accomplish high efficiency delivery of the ribozyme to target neoplastic cells. To accomplish this, a recombinant adenovirus was designed that encoded a gene cassette for the H-ras ribozyme. By using this virus, it was possible to accomplish high efficiency reversion of the neoplastic phenotype in mutant H-ras expressing tumor cells without the need for any selection steps. The demonstration of the utility of adenoviral-mediated delivery of anticancer ribozymes will allow the practical development of gene therapy strategies on this basis. © 1995, American Association for Cancer Research. All rights reserved.