Background: Conditionally replicative adenoviruses represent a promising strategy to address the limited efficacy and safety issues associated with conventional cancer treatment. Despite rapid translation into human clinical trials and demonstrated safety, the fundamental properties of oncolytic adenovirus replication and spread and host-vector interactions in vivo have not been completely evaluated. Methods: We developed a noninvasive dynamic monitoring system to detect adenovirus replication. We constructed capsid-labeled E1/E3-deleted and wild-type adenoviruses (Ad-wt) by fusing the minor capsid protein IX with red fluorescent proteins mRFP1 and tdimer2(12), resulting in Ad-IX-mRFP1, Ad-IX-tdimer2(12), and Ad-wt-IX-mRFP1. Virus DNA replication, encapsidation, cytopathic effect, thermostability, and binding to primary receptor (coxsackie adenovirus receptor) were analyzed using real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction, cell viability (MTS) assay, and fluorescence microscopy. Athymic mice (n = 4) carrying xenograft tumors that were derived from A549 lung adenocarcinoma cells were intratumorally inoculated with Ad-wt-IX-mRFP1, and adenovirus replication was dynamically monitored with a fluorescence noninvasive imaging system. Correlations between fluorescence signal intensity and viral DNA synthesis and replication were calculated using Pearson's correlation coefficient (r). Results: The red fluorescence label had little effect on viral DNA replication, encapsidation, cytopathic effect, thermostability, and coxsackie adenovirus receptor binding. The fluorescent signal correlated with viral DNA synthesis and infectious progeny production both in vitro and in vivo (in A549 cells, r = .99 and r = .65; in tumors, r = .93 and r = .92, respectively). The replication efficiency of Ad-wt-IX-mRFP1 in vivo was variable, and replication and viral spreading and persistence were limited, consistent with clinical observations. Conclusions: Genetic capsid labeling provides a promising approach for the dynamic assessment of oncolytic adenovirus function in vivo.