Dendritic cells play an important role in the development of effective cancer vaccines. These cells have the potential to present tumour-specific antigens and thereby induce an immune response. Various studies involving clinical trials have investigated the efficacy of administering antigen-loaded dendritic cells for cancer therapy. In order to design such experiments it is important to consider specific antigens, which initiate either a CD4+ or CD8+ response or both. The present review discusses the unique properties of dendritic cells as an immunotherapeutic cell for cancer.