A salient feature of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) is an abundant fibroinflammatory response characterized by the recruitment of immune and mesenchymal cells and the consequent establishment of a pro-tumorigenic microenvironment. Here we report the prominent presence of B cells in human pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanIN) and PDA lesions as well as in oncogenic K-Ras-driven pancreatic neoplasms in the mouse. The growth of orthotopic pancreatic neoplasms harboring oncogenic K-Ras was significantly compromised in B cell-deficient mice (μMT), and this growth deficiency could be rescued by the reconstitution of a CD1dhighCD5+ B cell subset. The pro-tumorigenic effect of B cells was mediated by their expression of IL-35 through a mechanism involving IL-35-mediated stimulation of tumor cell proliferation. Our results identify a previously unrecognized role for IL-35-producing CD1dhighCD5+ B cells in the pathogenesis of pancreatic cancer and underscore the potential significance of a B cell/IL-35 axis as a therapeutic target.
- Received July 10, 2015.
- Revision received December 21, 2015.
- Accepted December 22, 2015.
- Copyright © 2015, American Association for Cancer Research.