The transcription factor interferon regulatory factor-8 (IRF-8) is crucial for myeloid cell development and immune response and also acts as a tumor suppressor gene. Here, we analyzed the role of IRF-8 in the cross talk between melanoma cells and tumor-infiltrating leukocytes. B16-F10 melanoma cells transplanted into IRF-8-deficient (IRF-8(-/-)) mice grow more rapidly, leading to higher numbers of lung metastasis, with respect to control animals. These events correlated with reduced dendritic cell and T cell infiltration, accumulation of myeloid-derived suppressor cells and a chemokine/chemokine receptor expression profile within the tumor microenvironment supporting tumor growth, angiogenesis, and metastasis. Noticeably, primary tumors developing in IRF-8(-/-) mice displayed a clear-cut inhibition of IRF-8 expression in melanoma cells. Injection of the demethylating agent 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine into melanoma-bearing IRF-8(-/-) animals induced intratumoral IRF-8 expression and resulted in the re-establishment of a chemokine/ chemokine receptor pattern favoring leukocyte infiltration and melanoma growth arrest. Importantly, intrinsic IRF-8 expression was progressively down-modulated during melanoma growth in mice and in human metastatic melanoma cells with respect to primary tumors. Lastly, IRF-8 expression in melanoma cells was directly modulated by soluble factors, among which interleukin-27 (IL-27), released by immune cells from tumor-bearing mice. Collectively, these results underscore a key role of IRF-8 in the cross talk between melanoma and immune cells, thus revealing its critical function within the tumor microenvironment in regulating melanoma progression and invasiveness.