Dendritic cells (DCs) are key effectors in innate immunity and play critical roles in triggering adaptive immune responses. FLT3 ligand (FLT3-L) is essential for DC development from hematopoietic progenitors. In a phase I clinical trial, we demonstrated that immunotherapy with subcutaneous injection of FLT3-L is safe and well tolerated in cancer patients recovering from autologous hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). FLT3-L administration significantly increased the frequency and absolute number of blood DC precursors without affecting other mature cell lineages during the 6-week course of FLT3-L therapy. After 14 days of FLT3-L administration, the number of blood CD11c + DCs, plasmacytoid DCs (PDCs), and CD14 + monocytes increased by 5.3-, 2.9-, 3.8-fold, respectively, and was maintained at increased levels throughout FLT3-L therapy. FLT3-L-increased blood DCs in HCT patients were immature and had modest enhancing effects on in vitro T-cell proliferation to antigens and natural killer (NK) cell function. The addition of type B CpG oligodeoxynucleotides (ODNs) to peripheral blood mononuclear cells obtained from HCT patients receiving FLT3-L therapy induced rapid maturation of both CD11c + DCs and PDCs and enhanced T-cell proliferative responses. In addition, CpG ODN induced potent activation of NK cells from FLT3-L-treated patients with increased surface CD69 expression and augmented cytotoxicity. CpG ODN-induced activation of NK cells was primarily via an indirect mechanism through PDCs. These findings suggest that FLT3-L mobilization of DC precursors followed by a specific DC stimulus such as CpG ODN may provide a novel strategy to manipulate antitumor immunity in patients after HCT.