Enhanced antitumour immunity following neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy mediates a favourable prognosis in women with resected pancreatic cancer

CWF van Eijck, DAM Mustafa, D Vadgama, NFCC de Miranda, BG Koerkamp, G van Tienhoven, SH van der Burg, N Malats, CHJ van Eijck*, Dutch Pancreatic Canc Grp Dpcg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Web of Science)
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Background This study investigates sex disparities in clinical outcomes and tumour immune profiles in patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) who underwent upfront resection or resection preceded by gemcitabine-based neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy (nCRT).

Methods Patients originated from the PREOPANC randomised controlled trial. Upfront surgery was performed in 82 patients, and 66 received nCRT before resection. The impact of sex on overall survival (OS) was investigated using Cox proportional hazards models. The immunological landscape within the tumour microenvironment (TME) was mapped using transcriptomic and spatial proteomic profiling.

Results The 5-year OS rate differed between the sexes following resection preceded by nCRT, with 43% for women compared with 22% for men. In multivariate analysis, the female sex was a favourable independent prognostic factor for OS only in the nCRT group (HR 0.19; 95% CI 0.07 to 0.52). Multivariate heterogeneous treatment effects analysis revealed a significant interaction between sex and treatment, implying increased nCRT efficacy among women with resected PDAC. The TME of women contained fewer protumoural CD163+MRC1+M2 macrophages than that of men after nCRT, as indicated by transcriptomic and validated using spatial proteomic profiling.

Conclusion PDAC tumours of women are more sensitive to gemcitabine-based nCRT, resulting in longer OS after resection compared with men. This may be due to enhanced immunity impeding the infiltration of protumoral M2 macrophages into the TME. Our findings highlight the importance of considering sex disparities and mitigating immunosuppressive macrophage polarisation for personalised PDAC treatment.
Original languageEnglish
Article number330480
Pages (from-to)311-324
Number of pages14
Issue number2
Early online date14 Sept 2023
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sept 2023

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