Replication-deficient adenoviruses are considered as gene delivery vectors for the genetic treatment of a variety of diseases. The ability of such vectors to mediate efficient expression of therapeutic genes in a broad spectrum of dividing and non-dividing cell types constitutes an advantage over alternative gene transfer vectors. However, this broad tissue tropism may also turn disadvantageous when genes encoding potentially harmful proteins (e.g. cytokines, toxic proteins) are expressed in surrounding normal tissues. Therefore, specific restrictions of the viral tropism would represent a significant technological advance towards safer and more efficient gene delivery vectors, in particular for cancer gene therapy applications. In this review, we summarize various strategies used to selectively modify the natural tropism of recombinant adenoviruses. The advantages, limitations and potential impact on gene therapy operations of such modified vectors are discussed.