Human tumors are usually not spontaneously eliminated by the immune system and therapeutic vaccination of cancer patients with defined antigens is followed by tumor regressions only in a small minority of the patients. The poor vaccination effectiveness could be explained by an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment. Because T cells that infiltrate tumor metastases have an impaired ability to lyse target cells or to secrete cytokine, many researchers are trying to decipher the underlying immunosuppressive mechanisms. We will review these here, in particular those considered as potential therapeutic targets. A special attention will be given to galectins, a family of carbohydrate binding proteins. These lectins have often been implicated in inflammation and cancer and may be useful targets for the development of new anti-cancer therapies.