Previously, Srinivasula devised a contiguous molecule (C-cp-3 or immunocaspase-3) containing the small and large subunits similar to that in the active form of caspas-3 and found C-cp-3 had similar cleavage activity to the active form of caspase-3. To search for a new clinical application of C-cp-3 to treat hepatocellular carcinoma, recombinant adenoviruses carrying the C-cp-3 and a-fetoprotein (AFP) promoter (Ad-rAFP-C-cp-3) were constructed through a bacterial homologous recombinant system. The efficiency of adenovirus-mediated gene transfer and the inhibitory effect of Ad-rAFP-C-cp-3 on the proliferation of hepatocarcinoma cells were determined by X-gal stain and MTT assay, respectively. The tumorigenicity of hepatocarcinoma cells transfected by Ad-rAFP-C-cp-3 and the antitumor effect of Ad-rAFP-C-cp-3 on transplanted tumor in nude mice were detected in vivo. The results suggested that Ad-rAFP-C-cp-3 can inhibit specifically proliferation of AFP-producing human hepatocarcinoma cells in vitro and in vivo and adenovirus-mediated C-cp-3 transfer could be used as a new method to treat human hepatocarcinoma.