Authors:  Carstens JL, Correa de Sampaio P, Yang D, Barua S, Wang H, Rao A, Allison JP, LeBleu VS, Kalluri R

Issue:  Nature Communications 2017 Apr 27;8:15095

PMID:  28447602


The exact nature and dynamics of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) immune composition remains largely unknown. Desmoplasia is suggested to polarize PDAC immunity. Therefore, a comprehensive evaluation of the composition and distribution of desmoplastic elements and T-cell infiltration is necessary to delineate their roles. Here we develop a novel computational imaging technology for the simultaneous evaluation of eight distinct markers, allowing for spatial analysis of distinct populations within the same section. We report a heterogeneous population of infiltrating T lymphocytes. Spatial distribution of cytotoxic T cells in proximity to cancer cells correlates with increased overall patient survival. Collagen-I and αSMA+ fibroblasts do not correlate with paucity in T-cell accumulation, suggesting that PDAC desmoplasia may not be a simple physical barrier. Further exploration of this technology may improve our understanding of how specific stromal composition could impact T-cell activity, with potential impact on the optimization of immune-modulatory therapies.