NY-ESO-1 specific humoral responses are frequently observed in patients with various types of NY-ESO-1 antigen expressing tumors. In a large proportion of NY-ESO-1 antibody-positive patients of NY-ESO-1-specific CD8 T-cells can also be detected suggesting that monitoring of the NY-ESO-1 specific humoral immune response may be a relevant and more practical surrogate for estimating the overall immune response against NY-ESO-1 in clinical vaccine studies. We have immunized 9 cancer patients with full length NY-ESO-1 protein formulated with cholesterol-bearing hydrophobized pullulan (CHP-NY-ESO-1) and investigated the humoral immune responses against NY-ESO-1. Seven patients were NY-ESO-1 antibody-negative and 2 patients were positive prior to vaccination. Vaccination with CHP-NY-ESO-1 resulted in the induction or increase of NY-ESO-1 antibody responses in all 9 patients immunized. Epitope analysis revealed 5 regions in the NY-ESO-1 protein molecule that were recognized by antibodies induced after vaccination. The 5 regions were also recognized by antibodies present in nonvaccinated, NY-ESO-1 antibody-positive cancer patients. A peptide spanning amino acids 91–108 was recognized in 6 out of 9 vaccinated patients and in 8 out of 9 nonvaccinated, sero-positive patients, being the most dominant antigenic epitope in NY-ESO-1 for antibody recognition in cancer patients. In conclusion, we showed that CHP-NY-ESO-1 protein vaccination had a potent activity for inducing humoral immune responses against NY-ESO-1 antigen in cancer patients. The antigenic epitopes recognized by antibodies in the vaccinated patients were similar to those recognized in cancer patients with spontaneous humoral immunity against NY-ESO-1. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.