In recent years, several clinical trials have involved the vaccination of cancer patients with tumor-specific antigens that are recognized by T lymphocytes. Anti-vaccine T-cell responses in these patients have been monitored on the assumption that their magnitude would correlate with clinical efficacy. Although analysis of these data show that such a correlation is emerging, detailed analyses of the few patients who benefit clinically from the vaccinations suggest that the function of the anti-vaccine T cells might be more important than their number. Recent studies show that in cancer patients numerous tumor-specific T cells appear to be quiescent in the presence of the tumor. Understanding how an efficient vaccine interferes with this coexistence is one of the current challenges of cancer immunotherapy.