T-cell priming is strongly affected by the longevity of antigen-bearing dendritic cells (DCs), which are typically short-lived in lymphoid tissues. 'Survival gene' Bcl-xl is critical for the lifespan of DCs in vivo. Here, we showed that in vivo coadministration of Bcl-xl under control of the DC-specific promoter (CD11c-Bcl-xl) and TRP2hsp70 DNA prolonged T-cell stimulation by DCs and augmented TRP2-specific-IFN-gamma-producing CD8+ T-cell responses. Consistent with these findings, enhanced protection and significant therapeutic immunity to B16 melanoma was generated by this coimmunization strategy, which also augmented therapeutic immunity to GL-26 tumor. In this B16 melanoma model, results from animal experiments with depletion of immune cells indicate that CD8+ T cells and NK cells are important in the antitumor immunity induced by this coimmunization strategy. These observations suggest that 'survival gene' Bcl-xl potentiates the magnitude of antigen-specific-CD8+ T-cell responses and the efficacy of antitumor immunity induced by DNA vaccine, and is relevant for the design of in vivo targeted DC-based vaccine strategies to improve immunity against cancer.