Human cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) exhibit ultrarapid lytic granule secretion, but whether melanoma cells mobilize defense mechanisms with commensurate rapidity remains unknown. We used single-cell time-lapse microscopy to offer high spatiotemporal resolution analyses of subcellular events in melanoma cells upon CTL attack. Target cell perforation initiated an intracellular Ca2+ wave that propagated outward from the synapse within milliseconds and triggered lysosomal mobilization to the synapse, facilitating membrane repair and conferring resistance to CTL induced cytotoxicity. Inhibition of Ca2+ flux and silencing of synaptotagmin VII limited synaptic lysosomal exposure and enhanced cytotoxicity. Multiplexed immunohistochemistry of patient melanoma nodules combined with automated image analysis showed that melanoma cells facing CD8+ CTLs in the tumor periphery or peritumoral area exhibited significant lysosomal enrichment. Our results identified synaptic Ca2+ entry as the definitive trigger for lysosomal deployment to the synapse upon CTL attack and highlighted an unpredicted defensive topology of lysosome distribution in melanoma nodules.