Pancreas ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) has one of the worst 5-year survival rates of all solid tumors, and thus new treatment strategies are urgently needed. Here, we report that targeting Bruton tyrosine kinase (BTK), a key B-cell and macrophage kinase, restores T cell–dependent antitumor immune responses, thereby inhibiting PDAC growth and improving responsiveness to standard-of-care chemotherapy. We report that PDAC tumor growth depends on cross-talk between B cells and FcRγ+ tumor–associated macrophages, resulting in TH2-type macrophage programming via BTK activation in a PI3Kγ-dependent manner. Treatment of PDAC-bearing mice with the BTK inhibitor PCI32765 (ibrutinib) or by PI3Kγ inhibition reprogrammed macrophages toward a TH1 phenotype that fostered CD8+ T-cell cytotoxicity, and suppressed PDAC growth, indicating that BTK signaling mediates PDAC immunosuppression. These data indicate that pharmacologic inhibition of BTK in PDAC can reactivate adaptive immune responses, presenting a new therapeutic modality for this devastating tumor type.
SIGNIFICANCE: We report that BTK regulates B-cell and macrophage-mediated T-cell suppression in pancreas adenocarcinomas. Inhibition of BTK with the FDA-approved inhibitor ibrutinib restores T cell–dependent antitumor immune responses to inhibit PDAC growth and improves responsiveness to chemotherapy, presenting a new therapeutic modality for pancreas cancer. Cancer Discov; 6(3); 1–16. ©2015 AACR.
See related commentary by Roghanian et al., p. 230.
See related article by Pylayeva-Gupta et al., p. 247.
See related article by Lee et al., p. 256.
Note: Supplementary data for this article are available at Cancer Discovery Online (http://cancerdiscovery.aacrjournals.org/).
- Received July 8, 2015.
- Revision received December 14, 2015.
- Accepted December 22, 2015.
- ©2015 American Association for Cancer Research.