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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 Jan 29;116(5):1692-1697. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1811067116. Epub 2019 Jan 11.

Comparison of immune infiltrates in melanoma and pancreatic cancer highlights VISTA as a potential target in pancreatic cancer.

Author information

1
The Immunotherapy Platform, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77054.
2
Department of Genitourinary Medical Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030.
3
Janssen Oncology Therapeutic Area, Janssen Research and Development, LLC, Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, Spring House, PA 19477.
4
Department of Pathology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030.
5
Department of Translational Molecular Pathology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030.
6
Department of Surgical Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030.
7
Department of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030.
8
Department of Melanoma Medical Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030.
9
David Rubenstein Pancreatic Cancer Research Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10065.
10
The Immunotherapy Platform, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77054; jallison@mdanderson.org padsharma@mdanderson.org.
11
Department of Immunology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030.

Abstract

Immune checkpoint therapy (ICT) has transformed cancer treatment in recent years; however, treatment response is not uniform across tumor types. The tumor immune microenvironment plays a critical role in determining response to ICT; therefore, understanding the differential immune infiltration between ICT-sensitive and ICT-resistant tumor types will help to develop effective treatment strategies. We performed a comprehensive analysis of the immune tumor microenvironment of an ICT-sensitive tumor (melanoma, n = 44) and an ICT-resistant tumor (pancreatic cancer, n = 67). We found that a pancreatic tumor has minimal to moderate infiltration of CD3, CD4, and CD8 T cells; however, the immune infiltrates are predominantly present in the stromal area of the tumor and are excluded from tumoral area compared with melanoma, where the immune infiltrates are primarily present in the tumoral area. Metastatic pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas (PDACs) had a lower infiltration of total T cells compared with resectable primary PDACs, suggesting that metastatic PDACs have poor immunogenicity. Further, a significantly higher number of CD68+ macrophages and VISTA+ cells (also known as V-domain immunoglobulin suppressor of T cell activation) were found in the pancreatic stromal area compared with melanoma. We identified VISTA as a potent inhibitory checkpoint that is predominantly expressed on CD68+ macrophages on PDACs. These data suggest that VISTA may be a relevant immunotherapy target for effective treatment of patients with pancreatic cancer.

KEYWORDS:

immune checkpoints; immune infiltrate; immune monitoring; immunopathology; pancreatic cancer

PMID:
30635425
PMCID:
PMC6358697
[Available on 2019-07-29]
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1811067116

Conflict of interest statement

Conflict of interest statement: J.P.A. is an inventor and recipient of royalties from intellectual property licensed to Bristol-Meyer Squibb, Merck, and Jounce. He is a member of the scientific advisory board for Jounce Therapeutics, Neon Therapeutics, Amgen, Apricity, BioAlta, Forty-Seven, Tvardi Therapeutics, TapImmune, ImaginAB, Codiak Biosciences, and Marker Therapeutics. J.P.A. and P.S. own a patent licensed to Jounce Therapeutics. P.S. serves as a consultant for Constellation, Jounce Therapuetics, Kite Pharma, Neon Therapeutics, BioAtla, Pieris Pharmaceuticals, Oncolytics Biotech, Merck, BioMx, Forty-Seven, Polaris, Apricity, Marker Therapeutics, Codiak, ImaginAB, and TapImmune. She also has stock ownership in Jounce, Neon Therapeutics, Constellation, Oncolytics, BioAtlanta, Forty-Seven, Apricity, Polaris, Marker Therapeutics, Codiak, ImaginAB, and TapImmune. A.S. is an employee of Janssen.

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