The dismal prognoses suffered by malignant primary brain tumor (glioma) patients remain unchanged over the past two decades, despite significant improvements in the treatment of distinct tumors. Dendritic cell-based vaccine therapies represent a promising experimental approach to treat malignant gliomas, but major challenges still remain to render vaccination more effective. These challenges include diminishing the risk of pathological autoimmunity, identifying the cellular basis of clinical vaccine benefits and increasing the proportion of patients experiencing such benefits. Over the past three years, studies in glioma patients have characterized tumor antigens on human gliomas, identified some of the immune cells involved in beneficial anti-glioma immunity and examined how gliomas may be altered by sub-lethal immune influences, providing a glimpse of the strength with which immunity influences glioma clinical outcome. This progress promises to improve clinical vaccines for glioma, and perhaps for other cancers.