Desirable cell death during anticancer chemotherapy

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2010 Oct;1209:99-108. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2010.05763.x.


The concept of immunogenic chemotherapy that has recently emerged relies upon the capacity of a cytotoxic compound to trigger a cell-death modality. This modality elicits cross-priming by dendritic cells of tumor antigen-specific T cells that will contribute to the tumoricidal activity of the compound and protect the host against relapse. In contrast, most anticancer drugs elicit nonimmunogenic apoptosis that is not accompanied with an immunizing property. This review will discuss some molecular and metabolic changes required at the level of the tumor that must engage key pathways at the level of the host for the induction of Tc1 polarized-protective T cell responses during chemotherapy. We will summarize the immune adjuvants that can boost the immunogenicity of cell death to augment the efficacy of chemotherapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Cancer Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / pathology


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Cancer Vaccines