The rapidly increasing incidence and mortality rate of malignant melanoma, together with the lack of efficient treatment of the late stages, makes it a serious threat to public health. Innovative new treatments are needed. The proteins of the ras-family of proto-oncogenes, functioning as relay switches for signalling pathways between cell surface and nucleus, are involved in cell proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis and transformation. If over-expressed or mutated they can induce and/or maintain a transformed state of a cell. Codon 61 mutations of N-ras seem to be involved in melanoma development on sun exposed sites. In order to induce an immune response towards mutated N-ras proteins we performed a phase 1 feasibility study. Ten melanoma patients were immunized intradermally 6 times with N-ras peptides (residue 49-73) with 4 codon 61 mutations using GM-CSF as adjuvant. HLA typing was not used as an inclusion criterion. Eight patients responded with strong delayed type hypersensitivity reactions. In 2 of the patients an in vitro response to the vaccine could also be detected. The specificity of the reaction could be confirmed by cloning of peptide-specific CD4 positive T cells from peripheral blood of the patients. Intradermal injection of ras peptides using GM-CSF as adjuvant is simple to perform and seems to be efficient in inducing cellular immune responses. Since a majority of the patients showed positive skin reactions and 2 of the patients analysed showed a T-helper response to this melanoma specific antigen, these promiscuous HLA class II binding mutant ras peptides may be candidates for inclusion into vaccine cocktails containing various established CTL epitopes.