The success of active immunotherapy is based on the vaccine's ability to overcome immune tolerance through recalibrating the immune system so that it is able to recognize tumor antigens as foreign rather than self. In this study, we used a lentiviral vector system to target human telomerase reverse transcriptase (lv-hTERT), a widely expressed tumor antigen. Immunization of HLA-A*0201 transgenic HHD mice with recombinant lv-hTERT vector induces potent and diversified cytotoxic T lymphocyte responses that recognize in vitro murine tumor cells, which overexpress telomerase. Compared with peptide-based vaccinations, the lv-hTERT vector triggers better and more sustained CD8(+) T-cell response against self/TERT epitope in vivo. The study found that the additional use of a heterologous boosted vaccination drastically improves self/TERT-specific CD8 responses in lv-hTERT primed mice. Both primary and long-lasting self/TERT-specific CD8(+) T-cell responses induced with Iv-hTERT vector required the presence of CD4 T cells in vivo. This lv-hTERT-based active immunotherapy efficiently inhibits the growth of telomerase expressing tumors (B16/HLA-A2.1 murine melanoma) in HHD mice. These data show that targeting hTERT with lentivector is highly effective in stimulating a broad range of CD8 T-cell immunity that can be exploited for cancer immunotherapy.