During the last decade, it has become clear that the mammalian immune system is able to recognize and partially suppress nascent tumors. Human T cells specific to oncogenes and onco-fetal antigens are present in human cancer patients and their tumors. At the same time, molecular links between tumor-associated inflammation and tumor progression have been uncovered, providing an explanation for the long recognized epidemiological link between inflammation and cancer. The synopsis of these findings suggests a new interpretation of tumor immunity. It appears that antigen recognition or antigen-specific T-cell expansion at large is not as profoundly impaired in tumor patients as the correct polarization, the survival and the effector function of tumor-infiltrating T cells. This review will focus on pro-inflammatory cytokines likely to contribute to the deregulation of tumor-specific immunity and its consequences.