The field of cancer immunotherapy has expanded rapidly in the past few years, with many new approaches entering the clinic for T cell mediated killing of tumors. Several of these clinical approaches involve the exploitation of a CD8 + T cell response against MHC I presented tumor antigens. Here, we describe the types of tumor antigens which are considered as targets in the design of T cell based therapeutic approaches, the rationale for targeting MHC I antigens and the analytical tools commonly employed for the discovery of MHC I presented peptides. The advantages and disadvantages of each approach are discussed and a perspective on the future directions of the MHC I peptide exploration field and biotherapeutic strategies is given.