In the present study, we have analysed the detailed cellular immune mechanisms involved in tumour rejection in carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) transgenic mice after immunization with dendritic cells (DC) pulsed with an anti-idiotype (Id) antibody, 3H1, which mimics CEA. 3H1-pulsed DC vaccinations resulted in induction of CEA specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) responses in vitro and the rejection of CEA-transfected MC-38 murine colon carcinoma cells, C15, in vivo (Saha et al.,Cancer Res 2004; 64: 4995–5003). These CTL mediated major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I-restricted tumour cell lysis, production of interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), and expression of Fas ligand (FasL) and TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) in response to C15 cells. CTL used perforin-, FasL-, and TRAIL-mediated death pathways to lyse C15 cells, although perforin-mediated killing was the predominant lytic mechanism in vitro. The cytokines IFN-γ and TNF-α synergistically enhanced surface expression of Fas, TRAIL receptor, MHC class I and class II on C15 cells that increased the sensitivity of tumour cells to CTL lysis. CTL activity generated in 3H1-pulsed DC immunized mice was directed against an epitope defined by the idio-peptide LCD-2, derived from 3H1. In vivo lymphocyte depletion experiments demonstrated that induction of CTL response and antitumour immunity was dependent on both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. The analysis of splenocytes of immunized mice that had rejected C15 tumour growth revealed up-regulated surface expression of memory phenotype Ly-6C and CD44 on both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. The adoptive transfer experiments also suggested the role of both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in this model system. Furthermore, mice that had rejected C15 tumour growth, developed tumour-specific immunological memory.