Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is resistant to immunotherapy. As a factor of resistance, the dense fibrosis of this cancer acts as a barrier to inhibit immune cell infiltration into a tumor. We examined the influence of a Hedgehog signal inhibitor, Patched 1-interacting peptide, on fibrosis, infiltration of immune cells, and immunotherapeutic effects on PDAC. We found that this peptide inhibited proliferation and migration of cancer-associated fibroblasts and cancer cells. Furthermore, this peptide reduced the production of extracellular matrix and transforming growth factor β1 in cancer-associated fibroblasts and induced expression of HLA-ABC in PDAC cells and interferon-γ in lymphocytes. In vivo, the peptide suppressed fibrosis of PDAC and increased immune cell infiltration into tumors. The combination of this peptide and an anti-programmed death-1 antibody augmented the antitumor effect, and this combination showed the same effect in experiments using cancer cells and autologous lymphocytes. These results indicate that, in addition to the direct effect of tumor suppression, the Patched 1-interacting peptide increases the infiltration of immune cells by reducing fibrosis of PDAC and consequently enhances the effect of immunotherapy. Therefore, treatment with this peptide may be a novel therapy with 2 different mechanisms: direct tumor suppression and enhancing the immune response against PDAC.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy
- Cancer Research