The field of cancer vaccines is currently in an active state of clinical investigations. Human papilloma virus vaccine has been approved as a prophylactic cancer vaccine, while Oncophage (heat shock protein-peptide complex) was recently approved in Russia for a certain stage of kidney cancer, although to date none has been approved in Japan or the USA. We reviewed recent clinical trials of several different types of cancer vaccines, mainly by using PubMed from 2005 to 2008. There have been slow but substantial advances in peptide vaccines and dendritic cell-based vaccines with regard to both clinical responses and immunological markers. A personalized approach to boost immune responses, addition of chemotherapy to overcome robust cancers and changing of endpoints from tumor reduction to overall survival seem to be the three key elements for the development of therapeutic cancer vaccines.