The priming of an appropriate anti-tumor T cell response rarely results in the rejection of established tumors. The characteristics of tumors that allow them to evade a T cell-mediated rejection are unknown for many tumors. We report on evidence that the expression of the immunosuppressive enzyme, indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) by mononuclear cells that invade tumors and tumor-draining lymph nodes, is 1 mechanism that may account for this observation. Lewis lung carcinoma (LLC) cells stimulated a more robust allogeneic T cell response in vitro in the presence of a competitive inhibitor of IDO, 1-methyl tryptophan. When administered in vivo this inhibitor also resulted in delayed LLC tumor growth in syngeneic mice. Our study provides evidence for a novel mechanism whereby tumors evade rejection by the immune system, and suggests the possibility that inhibiting IDO may be developed as an anti-cancer immunotherapeutic strategy. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.