ABSTRACT: B-cell responses are emerging as critical regulators of cancer progression. In this study, we investigated the role of B lymphocytes in the microenvironment of human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), in a retrospective consecutive series of 104 PDAC patients and in PDAC preclinical models. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that B cells occupy two histologically distinct compartments in human PDAC, either scatteringly infiltrating (CD20-TILs), or organized in tertiary lymphoid tissue (CD20-TLT). Only when retained within TLT, high density of B cells predicted longer survival (median survival 16.9 mo CD20-TLThi vs. 10.7 mo CD20-TLTlo; p = 0.0085). Presence of B cells within TLT associated to a germinal center (GC) immune signature, correlated with CD8-TIL infiltration, and empowered their favorable prognostic value. Immunotherapeutic vaccination of spontaneously developing PDAC (KrasG12D-Pdx1-Cre) mice with α-enolase (ENO1) induced formation of TLT with active GCs and correlated with increased recruitment of T lymphocytes, suggesting induction of TLT as a strategy to favor mobilization of immune cells in PDAC. In contrast, in an implanted tumor model devoid of TLT, depletion of B cells with an anti-CD20 antibody reinstated an antitumor immune response. Our results highlight B cells as an essential element of the microenvironment of PDAC and identify their spatial organization as a key regulator of their antitumor function. A mindfully evaluation of B cells in human PDAC could represent a powerful prognostic tool to identify patients with distinct clinical behaviors and responses to immunotherapeutic strategies.
- B cells
- pancreatic adenocarcinoma (PDAC)
- tertiary lymphoid tissue
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy