ARTICLE ABSTRACTImmune resistance may arise from both genetic instability and tumor heterogeneity. Microenvironmental stresses such as hypoxia and various resistance mechanisms promote carcinoma cell plasticity. AXL, a member of the TAM (Tyro3, Axl, and Mer) receptor tyrosine kinase family, is widely expressed in human cancers and increasingly recognized for its role in cell plasticity and drug resistance. To investigate mechanisms of immune resistance, we studied multiple human lung cancer clones derived from a model of hypoxia-induced tumor plasticity that exhibited mesenchymal or epithelial features. We demonstrate that AXL expression is increased in mesenchymal lung cancer clones. Expression of AXL in the cells correlated with increased cancer cell–intrinsic resistance to both natural killer (NK)– and cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL)–mediated killing. A small-molecule targeting AXL sensitized mesenchymal lung cancer cells to cytotoxic lymphocyte–mediated killing. Mechanistically, we showed that attenuation of AXL-dependent immune resistance involved a molecular network comprising NF-κB activation, increased ICAM1 expression, and upregulation of ULBP1 expression coupled with MAPK inhibition. Higher ICAM1 and ULBP1 tumor expression correlated with improved patient survival in two non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cohorts. These results reveal an AXL-mediated immune-escape regulatory pathway, suggest AXL as a candidate biomarker for tumor resistance to NK and CTL immunity, and support AXL targeting to optimize immune response in NSCLC.