Despite differences in their tissue of origin, many tumors share high level expression of certain tumor-associated proteins. Our laboratory has focused on the possibility of utilizing antigenic components of these proteins as a focus for T-cell immunotherapy of cancer. The advantage of targeting such commonly expressed proteins is the fact that such therapy could be of value in eliminating many different types of tumors. A potential barrier in the identification of T-cell epitopes derived from these proteins and presented by tumor cells is the fact that these proteins are also expressed at low levels in some normal tissues, and therefore, self-tolerance may eliminate T cells that are capable of recognizing these epitopes with high avidity. We have utilized two different murine model systems to explore the extent to which self-tolerance may limit the immune response to a tumor-specific antigen. The first compared the ability of mice deficient in expression of murine p53 (p53 knock-out mice) and normal mice, to respond against several epitopes of the p53 protein. The second model compares the ability of conventional mice with transgenic mice that express the influenza hemagglutinin in the periphery to respond to a dominant antigenic peptide of this transgene product. In both models we have investigated the effect self-tolerance has on elimination of tumors expressing the toleragen.