Dissecting the stromal signalingandregulation of myeloid cells and memory effector T cells in pancreatic cancer

Alex B. Blair, Victoria M. Kim, Stephen T. Muth, May Tun Saung, Nathalie Lokker, Barbara Blouw, Todd D. Armstrong, Elizabeth M. Jaffee, Takahiro Tsujikawa, Lisa M. Coussens, Jin He, Richard A. Burkhart, Christopher L. Wolfgang, Lei Zheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Purpose: Myeloid cells are a prominent immunosuppressive component within the stroma of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). Previously, targeting myeloid cells has had limited success. Here, we sought to target the myeloid cells through modifying a specific stromal component. Experimental Design: A murine model of metastatic PDAC treated with an irradiated whole-cell PDAC vaccine and PDAC specimens from patients treated with the same type of vaccine were used to assess the immune-modulating effect of stromal hyaluronan (HA) degradation by PEGPH20. Results:Targeting stroma by degradingHAwithPEGPH20 in combination with vaccine decreases CXCL12/CXCR4/ CCR7 immunosuppressive signaling axis expression in cancer-associated fibroblasts, myeloid, and CD8+ T cells, respectively. This corresponds with increased CCR7+ effector memory T-cell infiltration, an increase in tumor-specific IFNg, and improved survival. In the stroma of human PDACs treated with the same vaccine, decreased stromal CXCR4 expression significantly correlated with decreased HA and increased cytotoxic activities, suggesting CXCR4 is an important therapeutic target. Conclusions: This study represents the first to dissect signaling cascades following PDAC stroma remodeling via HA depletion, suggesting this not only overcomes a physical barrier for immune cell trafficking, but alters myeloid function leading to downstream selective increases in effector memory T-cell infiltration and antitumor activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5351-5363
Number of pages13
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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