Immunostimulatory cytosine-phophateguanosine (CpG)-containing motifs in bacterial DNA are potent immune system activators. Depending on the bases flanking the CpG motif and on the DNA backbone, CpG oligodeoxynucleotides (ODNs) can induce relatively more B-cell activation or relatively more natural killer (NK)-cell activation. To evaluate their antitumor activities, an NK-optimized ODN (1585) and 2 B-cell-optimized ODNs (1826 and 2006) were compared for their ability to protect naive mice against a lethal acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) challenge. CpG 2006, but not CpG 1585, administered 2 days before the AML challenge, allowed mice to survive more than 100 times a lethal tumor dose. Cell depletion studies showed that protection did not require T or B cells but depended on NK cells and also on an NK-independent mechanism. CpG 2006 protected against AML challenge in both syngeneic and allogeneic bone marrow transplant (BMT) recipients at both early and late time points after transplantation. Although CpG 1585 had no protective effect on its own, it showed a striking synergy with CpG 2006 to induce prolonged survival to AML challenge in allogeneic recipients of T-cell-depleted marrow grafts, exceeding the survival benefit of donor lymphocyte infusion (DLI). When combined with DLI, a synergistic effect was observed in recipients of CpG2006 or 2006 + 1585 with 88% of mice surviving long-term. These data are the first to indicate that the systemic administration of CpG ODNs is a potent means of inducing therapeutic anti-AML innate immune responses in naive and BMT recipients.