The therapeutic efficacy of anthracyclines relies on antitumor immune responses elicited by dying cancer cells. How chemotherapy-induced cell death leads to efficient antigen presentation to T cells, however, remains a conundrum. We found that intratumoral CD11c(+)CD11b(+)Ly6C(hi) cells, which displayed some characteristics of inflammatory dendritic cells and included granulomonocytic precursors, were crucial for anthracycline-induced anticancer immune responses. ATP released by dying cancer cells recruited myeloid cells into tumors and stimulated the local differentiation of CD11c(+)CD11b(+)Ly6C(hi) cells. Such cells efficiently engulfed tumor antigens in situ and presented them to T lymphocytes, thus vaccinating mice, upon adoptive transfer, against a challenge with cancer cells. Manipulations preventing tumor infiltration by CD11c(+)CD11b(+)Ly6C(hi) cells, such as the local overexpression of ectonucleotidases, the blockade of purinergic receptors, or the neutralization of CD11b, abolished the immune system-dependent antitumor activity of anthracyclines. Our results identify a subset of tumor-infiltrating leukocytes as therapy-relevant antigen-presenting cells.
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