Interleukin-12 (IL-12) is an immunostimulatory cytokine that has shown strong antitumor effects in animal models of liver cancer. In order to overcome the severe toxicity associated with its systemic administration, we had previously tested different strategies based on IL-12 gene transfer to tumor cells or to the surrounding liver tissue. We obtained promising results both with a recombinant Semliki Forest virus (SFV) vector expressing high levels of IL-12 (SFV-IL-12) after intratumoral injection and with a plasmid vector [pTonL2(T)-mIL12] that allows liver-specific and inducible IL-12 expression. The aim of the present study was to compare the antitumor responses induced by both systems in a clinically relevant animal model of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) developed in L-PK/c-myc transgenic mice. These animals overexpress the c-myc oncogene in their livers, giving rise to spontaneous hepatic tumors with latency, histopathology, and genetic characteristics similar to human HCCs. We observed that intratumoral inoculation of SFV-IL-12 induced growth arrest in most tumors, providing 100% survival rate, in contrast to no survival in control animals. Similar results were obtained with hydrodynamic injection of pTonL2(T)-mIL12 after long-term induction of IL-12 expression in the liver. However, tumor arrest was less evident in plasmid-treated mice and the survival rate was slightly lower, despite higher and more sustained levels of IL-12 and IFN-¿ in serum. The fact that SFV-IL-12 was able to induce both apoptosis and a type-I IFN response specifically in the tumor could explain why short-term IL-12 expression from this vector was sufficient to mediate an antitumoral response comparable with long-term IL-12 expression driven by pTonL2(T)-mIL12. Since SFV-IL-12 could reduce the possible toxicity associated with long-term IL-12 expression, we believe that this vector could have a potential application for HCC gene therapy.