To investigate tumor-selective viral replication, we compared several tumorigenic human cell lines to nontumorigenic human cells from the blood for the sensitivity to become infected by a recombinant lentogenic strain of Newcastle Disease Virus (NDV) with incorporated transgene EGFP (NDFL-EGFP). Although fluorescence signals in nontumorigenic cells were only weak or missing completely, a massive and long-lasting transgene-expression was observed in all tumor cell lines. The majority of tumor cells (50-95%) could be infected, and viral replication was associated with an increase in the cell surface density of viral antigens. To clarify the underlying mechanism of the observed difference in virus susceptibility we examined the kinetics of interferon-induced antiviral enzymes because NDV is a strong type-I interferon inducer. This analysis revealed several defects of tumor cells in their antiviral defence responses: They showed no response to UV-inactivated NDV, whereas nontumorigenic cells reacted with induction of high-levels of the antiviral enzymes PKR and MxA. Upon coincubation with live NDV, tumor cells showed a delayed response in the increased expression of the antiviral enzymes in comparison with PBMC. In nontumorigenic cells the replication cycle of NDV stopped after the production of positive-strand RNA, while tumor cells continued in the replication cycle and copied viral genomes 10-50 hr after infection. These results can explain the tumor selective replication behavior of this interesting antineoplastic virus.