Stroma secreted IL6 selects for stem-like population and alters pancreatic tumor microenvironment by reprogramming metabolic pathways

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
K. KeshSulagna Banerjee


Pancreatic adenocarcinoma is a devastating disease with an abysmal survival rate of 9%. A robust fibro-inflammatory and desmoplastic stroma, characteristic of pancreatic cancer, contributes to the challenges in developing viable therapeutic strategies in this disease. Apart from constricting blood vessels and preventing efficient drug delivery to the tumor, the stroma also contributes to aggressive biology of the cancer along with its immune-evasive microenvironment. In this study, we show that in pancreatic tumors, the developing stroma increases tumor initiation frequency in pancreatic cancer cells in vivo by enriching for CD133+ aggressive stem-like cells. Additionally, the stromal fibroblasts secrete IL6 as the major cytokine, increases glycolytic flux in the pancreatic tumor cells and increases lactate efflux in the microenvironment via activation of the STAT signaling pathway. We also show that the secreted lactate favors activation of M2 macrophages in the tumor microenvironment, which excludes CD8+ T-cells in the tumor. Our data additionally confirms that treatment of pancreatic tumors with anti-IL6 antibody results in tumor regression as well as decreased CD133+ population within the tumor. Furthermore, inhibiting the ...Continue Reading

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