Immunization with specific tumor-associated antigen (Ag) (TAA)-pulsed dendritic cells (DC) has proven to be efficacious in a variety of animal models and is being investigated for the treatment of cancer patients. Use of DC pulsed with specific peptides or transfected with TAA genes has been a focused area of investigation for the induction of potent tumor and viral immune responses. In this study we demonstrate transgene expression, including expression of the MART-1 gene, in DC transfected with plasmid DNA and cationic liposome complexes. These transiently transfected DC, derived from healthy donor monocytes cultured with granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor and interleukin-4, express the transgene and can stimulate naive CD8+ T cells to elicit an antitumor immune response. These cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) were capable of recognizing both known and unknown TAA epitopes and were able to exhibit cytolytic activity against human histocompatibility leukocyte Ag-matched tumor cells expressing the Ag. In addition to their cytolytic function, the CTL displayed an oligoclonal T-cell receptor repertoire, indicating that the presented Ag induced alterations in the T-cell population. The ability to induce tumor-specific CTL in vitro using gene-modified DC transiently expressing TAAs demonstrates the potential use of these Ag-presenting cells to generate future in vivo cancer vaccine strategies.