Dendritic cells (DCs) are the most powerful antigen-presenting cells that induce and maintain primary immune responses in vitro and in vivo. The development of protocols for the ex vivo generation of DCs provided a rationale for designing and developing DC-based vaccination studies for the treatment of infectious and malignant diseases. Recently, it was shown that DCs transfected with ribonucleic acid (RNA) coding for a tumour-associated antigen or whole tumour RNA are able to induce potent antigen and tumour-specific T-cell responses directed against multiple epitopes. The first RNA-transfected-DC-based clinical studies have shown that this form of vaccination is feasible and safe. In some cases, clinical responses were observed, but the preliminary data require further extensive investigations that should address the technical and biological problems of manipulating human DCs, as well as the development of standardised protocols and definitions of clinical settings.