Cervical cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in women worldwide. It is almost invariably associated with infection with human papilloma virus (HPV) particularly types 16 and 18. The ubiquitous expression of E6 and E7 oncogene products has been recognised as an attractive target for CTL-mediated immunotherapy. In-vivo expansion of an HPV oncogene product specific MHC class 1 restricted response has been demonstrated using intradermally administered live vaccinia virus HPV 16 and 18 E6/E7 gene construct (TA-HPV, Cantab Pharmaceuticals). Responses have been seen in 1/3 evaluable patients with advanced cervical cancer, and 3/12 CIN3 volunteers, and in 4/29 patients with early invasive cervical cancer (Rankin et al. Proceedings of 91st AACR Meeting, San Francisco, April 2000). In addition, the adoptive transfer of ex vivo HPV 16 or 18 positive autologous tumour lysate pulsed dendritic cells is currently being tested as an alternative means of expanding HPV specific CTL in advanced cervical cancer patients. So far an HLA-A*O201 restricted CD8 T cell response has been recorded in the single HLA-A*O201 patient whose tumour was shown to be HPV16 positive. It appears therefore feasible to induce HPV specific CTL responses in patients with cervical cancer using several vaccine strategies. However, further clinical trials are needed to determine the full anti-tumour potential of this vaccine based immunotherapy.