Transduction of B16 melanoma cells with IFN alpha (B16-IFN alpha) enhances CD8(+) T-cell-dependent tumor immunity in mice, resulting in delayed outgrowth in vivo. Here we provide evidence that CD4(+) T cells down-regulate the IFN alpha-induced tumor immune defense. Importantly, depletion of regulatory CD25(+) CD4(+) T cells prevented growth of B16-IFN alpha in most mice and promoted long-lasting protective tumor immunity. Rejection of B16-IFN alpha could also be achieved with therapeutic injections of dendritic cells genetically engineered to express the melanoma antigen tyrosinase-related protein 2. These results support the development of novel strategies for the immunotherapy of melanoma using IFN alpha in combination with elimination of regulatory T cells or antigen-specific immunization.