We have recently demonstrated that a single local injection of the avian pathogen Newcastle disease virus (NDV; strain 73-T) causes complete regression of human neuroblastoma xenografts in athymic mice (R. M. Lorence, K. W. Reichard, B. B. Katubig, H. M. Reyes, A. Phuangsab, B. R. Mitchell, C. J. Cascino, R. J. Walter, and M. E. Peeples. J. Natl. Cancer Inst., 86: 1228-1233, 1994). In this report, we tried to determine if this in vivo antineoplastic effect of NDV extends to human sarcomas. Athymic mice with s.c. HT1080 fibrosarcoma xenografts (7-14 mm) were randomly divided into two groups and treated i.t. with a single injection of either 10(7) plaque-forming units of NDV or phosphate-buffered saline. Complete tumor regression occurred in 8 of 10 mice treated with NDV while unabated tumor growth occurred in all 9 mice treated with phosphate-buffered saline (P < 0.001). To determine if complete tumor regression was long lasting, the 8 mice were monitored for 1 year, during which time no tumor recurred. To test the antitumor effects of NDV on tumors derived from a fresh human sarcoma, a similar experiment was performed in athymic mice using TH15145 synovial sarcoma xenografts at their first and second passages. Of 9 mice with TH15145 xenografts, a single i.t. injection of NDV (10(7) plaque-forming units) caused complete regression of 3 tumors and > 80% regression in 3 more tumors. In contrast, tumors in all 5 mice treated with phosphate-buffered saline exhibited unabated growth (P < 0.03 for > 80% tumor regression). Since HT1080 fibrosarcoma cells express the N-ras oncogene, we explored the effects that transfection of this oncogene has on the sensitivity to NDV. Cultured human fibroblasts that were made tumorigenic following N-ras-transfection were found to be 1000-fold more sensitive to NDV than normal fibroblasts in a cytotoxicity assay. Oncogene expression by the HT1080 fibrosarcoma may therefore contribute to the long-lasting complete regression of this sarcoma following a single local injection of NDV.