erbB2/neu, an overexpressed oncogene product, has been proposed as a human cancer vaccine target. In the present study, transgenic (rat neuNT oncogene) FVB/neu mice, developing metastasizable mammary carcinoma, were immunized with a plasmid DNA encoding are not tolerant to the self antigen and sequences. We report that transgenic tumour-bearing mice, like some breast cancer patients erbB2 + X, develop anti-neu autoimmune responses, which can be boosted and skewed to a Th1 phenotype by DNA immunization. Intramuscular injections of neuNT plasmid drastically reduced (or even prevented in a small number of treated mice) the outgrowth of mammary neoplasms as well as their metastatic penetrance. Furthermore, DNA immunization caused haemorrhagic necrosis of established cancer nests, leaving a greatly reduced portion of the tumour burden for the host to cope with. The antitumour activities we obtained, in this very challenging model for cancer immunotherapy, lay the foundation for DNA-based immunization to control erbB2/neu-overexpressing neoplasms.