In the context of cancer, naïve T cells are insufficiently primed and become progressively dysfunctional. Boosting antitumor responses by blocking PD-1 or CTLA-4 results in durable clinical responses only in a limited proportion of cancer patients, suggesting that other pathways must be targeted to improve clinical efficacy. Our preclinical study in TRAMP mice comparing 14 different immune interventions identified anti-CD40 + IL2/anti-IL2 complexes + IL12Fc as a uniquely efficacious treatment that prevents tolerance induction, promotes priming of sustained, protective tumor-specific CD8(+) T cells, and cures late-stage cancer when given together with adoptively transferred tumor-specific T cells. We propose that improving signals 2 (costimulation) and 3 (cytokines) together with fresh tumor-specific, rather than boosting of dysfunctional preexisting memory, T cells represents a potent therapy for advanced cancer. Cancer Immunol Res; 3(11); 1279-88. ©2015 AACR.