Docetaxel has demonstrated therapeutic efficacy against breast, prostate, and ovarian cancer and other solid tumors. The tumoricidal activity of docetaxel is mainly attributed to its ability to block microtubule depolymerization, thus inducing G(2)-M arrest and apoptosis. Mounting evidence indicates that docetaxel also possesses immunomodulatory activity such as augmenting macrophage and lymphokine activated killer activity and inducing pro-inflammatory cytokines, suggesting that docetaxel may be a good chemotherapeutic agent to combine with cancer immunotherapies, assuming that it does not inhibit the vaccine-induced immune response. The anti-tumor activity of the combination of docetaxel and a GM-CSF-secreting B16F10 tumor cell vaccine (B16.GM) was evaluated in the murine B16 melanoma model. Dose levels of docetaxel and the B16.GM vaccine known to be ineffective when used as single agents were selected. Three iv treatments of 6 mg/kg docetaxel per injection given on days 5, 9, and 13 after tumor challenge or a single vaccination with 2-3 x 10(6) B16.GM cells on day 3 were ineffective at inhibiting tumor growth when used as single agents [median survival time (MST)=24 days in both treatment groups and in control animals]. However, combination of docetaxel and B16.GM vaccine significantly delayed tumor growth, increasing MST to 45 days. A similar improvement in anti-tumor efficacy was observed using multiple treatment cycles of the B16.GM vaccine/docetaxel combination. Administration of docetaxel every 4 days between bi-weekly B16.GM vaccinations increased the median survival of tumor-bearing mice from 31 to 52 days compared to multiple B16.GM vaccinations alone. In summary, these data demonstrate that rather than inhibiting the anti-tumor effects of a GM-CSF-secreting tumor cell vaccine, docetaxel combined with a whole cell vaccine significantly inhibits tumor growth, increases survival time and does not impede T-cell activation in the murine B16F10 melanoma tumor model. GM-secreting tumor cell vaccines in combination with docetaxel may represent a new strategy for combining chemo and immunotherapy for cancer.