Regulatory T Cells in Pancreatic Cancer: Of Mice and Men

Reyes, C. M., Demir, E., Cifcibasi, K., Istvanffy, R., Friess, H., and Demir, I. E. (2022). Cancers (Basel) 14. doi: ARTN 4582 10.3390/cancers14194582


Regulatory T cells (Treg) are one of the major immunosuppressive cell subsets in the pancreatic tumor microenvironment. Tregs influence tumor growth by acting either directly on cancer cells or via the inhibition of effector immune cells. Treg cells mechanisms form a partially redundant network with other immunosuppressive cells such as myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) that confer robustness to tumor immunosuppression and resistance to immunotherapy. The results obtained in preclinical studies where after Treg depletion, MDSCs concomitantly decreased in early tumors whereas an inverse association was seen in advanced PCa, urge a comprehensive analysis of the immunosuppressive profile of PCa throughout tumorigenesis. One relevant context to analyse these complex compensatory mechanisms may be the tumors of patients who underwent neoTx. Here, we observed a parallel decrease in the numbers of both intratumoral Tregs and MDSC after neoTx even in locally advanced PCa. NeoTx also led to decreased amounts of αSMA+ myofibroblastic cancer-associated fibroblasts (myCAF) and increased proportions of CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes in the tumor. In order to understand these dynamics and to uncover stage-specific actional strategies involving Tregs, pre-clinical models that allow the administration of neoTx to different stages of PCa may be a very useful platform.