Dendritic cells (DCs) that acquired antigen from apoptotic tumor cells are able to induce major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I-restricted cytotoxic T lymphocytes and antitumor immunity. In the present study, we investigated the efficiency of antitumor immunity derived from DCs that had phagocytosed apoptotic/necrotic BL6-10 melanoma cells compared with that of DCs pulsed with the tumor mTRP2 peptide. Our data showed that phagocytosis of apoptotic/necrotic tumor cells resulted in maturation of DCs with up-regulated expression of proinflammatory cytokines [interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, tumor necrosis factor-α, interferon-γ and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor], chemokines (MIP-1α, MIP-1β and MIP-2), the CC chemokine receptor CCR7 and the cell surface molecules (MHC class II, CD11b, CD40 and CD86), and down-regulated expression of the CC chemokine receptors CCR2 and CCR5. These mature DCs displayed enhanced migration toward the CC chemokine MIP-3β in a chemotaxis assay in vitro and to the regional lymph nodes in an animal model in vivo. Our data also showed that vaccination with DCs that had phagocytosed apoptotic/necrotic BL6-10 cells was able to (i) more strongly stimulate allogeneic T-cell proliferation in vitro, (ii) induce an in vivo Th1-type immune response leading to more efficient tumor-specific cytotoxic CD8+ T-cell-mediated immunity and (iii) eradicate lung metastases in all 6 vaccinated mice compared with mice vaccinated with DCs pulsed with the tumor mTRP2 peptide, in which lung metastases were reduced (mean number of 16 per mouse) but not completely eradicated. Therefore, DCs that had phagocytosed apoptotic/necrotic tumor cells appear to offer new strategies in DC cancer vaccines. © 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.