The mechanism of generation of memory cytotoxic T cells (CTL) following immunization remains controversial. Using tumor protection and IFN-gamma ELISPOT assays in mice to detect functional CTL, we show that the initial effector CTL burst size after immunization is not directly related to the amount of functional memory CTL formed, suggesting that memory CTL are unlikely to arise stochastically from effector CTL. Induction of MHC class II-restricted T helper cells at the time of immunization by inclusion of a T helper peptide or protein in the immunogen, is necessary to generate memory CTL, although no T helper cell induction is required to generate effector CTL to a strong MHC class I-binding peptide. Host protective T cell memory correlates with the number of CTL epitope responsive IFN-gamma-secreting memory T cells as measured in an ELISPOT assay at the time of tumor challenge. We conclude that a different antigen presenting environment is required to induce long-lasting functional memory CTL, and non-cognate stimulation of the immune system is essential to allow generation of a long-lasting host protective memory CTL response.