TCRs exhibit a high degree of specificity but may also recognize multiple and distinct peptide-MHC complexes, illustrating the so-called cross-reactivity of TCR-peptide-MHC recognition. In this study, we report the first evidence of CD4(+) T cells recognizing the same tumor peptide-epitope from NY-ESO-1, in the context of multiple HLA-DR and HLA-DP molecules. These cross-reactive CD4(+) T cells recognized not only autologous but also allogenic dendritic cells previously loaded with the relevant protein (i.e., the normally processed and presented epitope). Using clonotypic real-time RT-PCR, we have detected low frequencies of CD4(+) T cells expressing one cross-reactive TCR from circulating CD4(+) T cells of patients with stage IV melanoma either spontaneously or after immunization but not in normal donors. The maintenance of cross-reactive tumor Ag-specific CD4(+) T cells in PBLs of cancer patients required the presence of tumor Ag/epitope in the context of the MHC molecule used to prime the Ag-specific CD4(+) T cells. Our findings have significant implications for the optimization of TCR gene transfer immunotherapies widely applicable to cancer patients.