We extract the isovector tensor nucleon form factors, which play an important role in understanding the transverse spin structure of the nucleon when related to the quark helicity-flip generalized parton distributions via their first moments. We employ the light-cone QCD sum rules to leading order in QCD and include distribution amplitudes up to twist 6 in order to calculate the three tensor form factors H(T). E(T) and (H) over bar (T). Our results agree well with those from other approaches in the low and high momentum-transfer regions. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.