Purpose: Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) has the lowest five-year survival rate of all cancers in the United States. Programmed death 1 receptor (PD-1)-programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) immune checkpoint inhibition has been unsuccessful in clinical trials. Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) are known to block anti-tumor CD8+ T cell immune responses in various cancers including pancreas. This has led us to our objective that was to develop a clinically relevant in vitro organoid model to specifically target mechanisms that deplete MDSCs as a therapeutic strategy for PDAC. Method: Murine and human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) autologous organoid/immune cell co-cultures were used to test whether PDAC can be effectively treated with combinatorial therapy involving PD-1 inhibition and MDSC depletion. Results: Murine in vivo orthotopic and in vitro organoid/immune cell co-culture models demonstrated that polymorphonuclear (PMN)-MDSCs promoted tumor growth and suppressed cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) proliferation, leading to diminished efficacy of checkpoint inhibition. Mouse-and human-derived organoid/immune cell co-cultures revealed that PD-L1-expressing organoids were unresponsive to nivolumab in vitro in the presence of PMN-MDSCs. Depletion of arginase 1-expressing PMN-MDSCs within these co-cultures rendered the organoids susceptible to anti-PD-1/PD-L1-induced cancer cell death. Conclusions: Here we use mouse-and human-derived autologous pancreatic cancer organoid/immune cell co-cultures to demonstrate that elevated infiltration of polymorphonuclear (PMN)-MDSCs within the PDAC tumor microenvironment inhibit T cell effector function, regardless of PD-1/PD-L1 inhibition. We present a pre-clinical model that may predict the efficacy of targeted therapies to improve the outcome of patients with this aggressive and otherwise unpredictable malignancy.
- Myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSCs)
- Organoid/immune-cell co-culture
- Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research