Studies of the administration of interleukin-2 to patients with metastatic melanoma or kidney cancer have shown that immunological manipulations can mediate the durable regression of metastatic cancer. The molecular identification of cancer antigens has opened new possibilities for the development of effective immunotherapies for patients with cancer. Clinical studies using immunization with peptides derived from cancer antigens have shown that high levels of lymphocytes with anti-tumour activity can be raised in cancer-bearing patients. Highly avid anti-tumour lymphocytes can be isolated from immunized patients and grown in vitro for use in cell-transfer therapies. Current studies are aimed at understanding the mechanisms that enable the cancer to escape from immune attack.