Indoleamine-2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) is an immunosuppressive enzyme capable of inhibiting a destructive maternal T cell response against allogeneic fetuses. Expression of IDO is evident in tumours and is thought to enable escape from immunologically mediated rejection. Consequently, clinical trials using an inhibitor of IDO, 1-methyltryptophan (1MT), have been initiated. However, a review of the current literature indicates that we are far from understanding the biological relevance of IDO expression during tumorigenesis. A better understanding of IDO biology is needed to comprehend the effect of IDO inhibitors and to provide a rationale for their therapeutic application in cancer.