Immune checkpoint therapy (ICT) is exceptionally clinically attractive because it offers not only durable responses, but also better quality of life than many other treatments. In addition to neoantigens that are required for tumors to be recognized and targeted by cytotoxic T cells after ICT, the tumor microenvironment has been considered as a major determinant for the tumor responsiveness to ICT. In general, tumors that are not inflamed and do not elicit a response from the immune system do not respond to ICT. Therefore, creating an immunogenic tumor microenvironment is critical for achieving optimal ICT response. Immunogenic cell death (ICD) is a unique form of stress-induced cell death that drives inflammatory response in tumors and culminates with adaptive immunity. In this mini-review, we will first briefly introduce the mechanistic and functional features of ICD. We will then summarize the published studies in regard to how we can apply ICD-inducing strategies to enhance the effectiveness of ICT for cancer treatment.
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