Dacarbazine (DTIC) is a cytotoxic drug widely used for melanoma treatment. However, the putative contribution of anticancer immune responses in the efficacy of DTIC has not been evaluated. By testing how DTIC affects host immune responses to cancer in a mouse model of melanoma, we unexpectedly found that both natural killer (NK) and CD8(+) T cells were indispensable for DTIC therapeutic effect. Although DTIC did not directly affect immune cells, it triggered the upregulation of NKG2D ligands on tumor cells, leading to NK cell activation and IFNγ secretion in mice and humans. NK cell-derived IFNγ subsequently favored upregulation of major histocompatibility complex class I molecules on tumor cells, rendering them sensitive to cytotoxic CD8(+) T cells. Accordingly, DTIC markedly enhanced cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen 4 inhibition efficacy in vivo in an NK-dependent manner. These results underscore the immunogenic properties of DTIC and provide a rationale to combine DTIC with immunotherapeutic agents that relieve immunosuppression in vivo.