Gene-engineered dendritic cells (DC) are being tested in cancer immunotherapy. DC are the best equipped antigen-presenting cells (APC) to overcome tolerance / ignorance to self antigens presented by cancer cells. Genetic immunotherapy with DC engineered to express tumor antigens has the potential advantages of endogenous epitope presentation by both major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I and II molecules. DC can also be gene-modified to express immunostimulatory molecules that further enhance their antigen-presenting function. Review of the literature provided 52 manuscripts where gene-modified DC were being tested in murine models of immunotherapy for cancer. Review of the antitumor effects of gene-modified DC in these preclinical studies provides valuable information on the optimal methods of gene transfer into DC, the schedule of administration, the route, dose and the underlying immunological mechanisms of the antitumor effects. These data may help in the translation of this promising approach to the clinic.