Depending on the initiating stimulus, cancer cell death can be immunogenic or nonimmunogenic. Immunogenic cell death (ICD) involves changes in the composition of the cell surface as well as the release of soluble mediators, occurring in a defined temporal sequence. Such signals operate on a series of receptors expressed by dendritic cells to stimulate the presentation of tumor antigens to T cells. We postulate that ICD constitutes a prominent pathway for the activation of the immune system against cancer, which in turn determines the long-term success of anticancer therapies. Hence, suboptimal regimens (failing to induce ICD), selective alterations in cancer cells (preventing the emission of immunogenic signals during ICD), or defects in immune effectors (abolishing the perception of ICD by the immune system) can all contribute to therapeutic failure. We surmise that ICD and its subversion by pathogens also play major roles in antiviral immune responses.