Effective antitumor CD8 T cell responses may be activated by directly targeting the innate immune system within tumors. We investigated this response by injecting a range of TLR agonists into established tumors using a mouse model of malignant mesothelioma stably transduced with the hemagglutinin (HA) gene as a marker Ag (AB1-HA). Persistent delivery of the dsRNA mimetic poly(I:C) into established AB1-HA tumors resulted in complete tumor resolution in 40% of mice, with the remaining mice also showing a significant delay in tumor progression. Experiments in athymic nude mice along with CD8 depletion and IFN-alpha beta blocking studies revealed that tumor resolution required both CD8 T cells and type I IFN induction, and was associated with local changes in MHC class I expression. Surprisingly, however, tumor resolution was not associated with systemic dissemination or tumor infiltration of effector CD8 T cells. Instead, the antitumor response was critically dependent on the reactivation of tumor-resident CD8 T cell responses. These studies suggest that, once reactivated, pre-existing local CD8 T cell responses are sufficient to resolve established tumors and that in situ type I IFN is a determining factor.