The ability of immune therapies to control cancer has recently generated intense interest. This therapeutic outcome is reliant on T cell recognition of tumour cells. The natural function of dendritic cells (DC) is to generate adaptive responses, by presenting antigen to T cells, hence they are a logical target to generate specific anti-tumour immunity. Our understanding of the biology of DC is expanding, and they are now known to be a family of related subsets with variable features and function. Most clinical experience to date with DC vaccination has been using monocyte-derived DC vaccines. There is now growing experience with alternative blood-derived DC derived vaccines, as well as with multiple forms of tumour antigen and its loading, a wide range of adjuvants and different modes of vaccine delivery. Key insights from pre-clinical studies, and lessons learned from early clinical testing drive progress towards improved vaccines. The potential to fortify responses with other modalities of immunotherapy makes clinically effective „second generation“ DC vaccination strategies a priority for cancer immune therapists.