Abstract Dendritic cells (DCs) are potent antigen presenting cells that are able to initiate and modulate immune responses and are hence exploited as cellular vaccines for immunotherapy. In particular DCs generated from peripheral blood monocytes (Mo-DCs) have been used with promising results as a new approach for the immunotherapy of cancer. In this study, we have analyzed the changes in the pattern of expression molecules on Mo-DCs during DC maturation using different maturation cytokine combinations and the expansion capacity of an antigen specific CD8+T cells monitored by flow cytometry with the fluorescent tetramers and anti-CD8 monoclonal antibody. These analyses revealed that the expansion of antigen specific CD8+T cells is the most effective when T cells were activated by fully maturated DCs by culturing monocytes for 5 days in the presence of GM-CSF and IL-4, followed by 2–3 days of maturation with pro-inflammatory mediators including TNFα, IL-6, IL-1β and PGE2. These results pave the way to a more effective immunotherapy using DCs for patients with malignancy, as well as infectious diseases.