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Autophagy-Dependent Anticancer Immune Responses Induced by Chemotherapeutic Agents in Mice

Science  16 Dec 2011:
Vol. 334, Issue 6062, pp. 1573-1577
DOI: 10.1126/science.1208347

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Abstract

Antineoplastic chemotherapies are particularly efficient when they elicit immunogenic cell death, thus provoking an anticancer immune response. Here we demonstrate that autophagy, which is often disabled in cancer, is dispensable for chemotherapy-induced cell death but required for its immunogenicity. In response to chemotherapy, autophagy-competent, but not autophagy-deficient, cancers attracted dendritic cells and T lymphocytes into the tumor bed. Suppression of autophagy inhibited the release of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) from dying tumor cells. Conversely, inhibition of extracellular ATP-degrading enzymes increased pericellular ATP in autophagy-deficient tumors, reestablished the recruitment of immune cells, and restored chemotherapeutic responses but only in immunocompetent hosts. Thus, autophagy is essential for the immunogenic release of ATP from dying cells, and increased extracellular ATP concentrations improve the efficacy of antineoplastic chemotherapies when autophagy is disabled.

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