Members of the heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) family display a broad cellular localization and thus bind a repertoire of chaperoned peptides potentially derived from proteins of different cellular compartments. In this report, we show that HSP70 purified from human melanoma can activate T cells recognizing melanoma differentiation antigens in an antigen- and HLA class I-dependent fashion. HLA class I-restricted anti-melanoma T cells were susceptible to MHC-restricted, HSP70-dependent stimulation, indicating that HSP70 complexed peptides were able to gain access to the class I HLA presentation pathway. In addition, MHC matching between the melanoma cells used as a source of HSP and the responding T cells were not required, indicating that HSP70 activation may occur across MHC barriers. Besides the MHC-restricted and peptide-dependent activation pathway, HSP70 with no endogenous complexed peptides or HSP70 purified from antigen-negative cells was also able to induce IFN-gamma release by antimelanoma T cells by a MHC-independent mechanism. In this case, however, higher doses of HSP70 were required. The capacity to activate class I-restricted, antitumor T cells as well as antigen-presenting cells, together with the finding that the HSP70 chaperoned peptide repertoire includes melanoma-shared epitopes, holds promise for a HSP70-based cancer vaccine.