Response to cancer immunotherapy in primary versus metastatic disease has not been well-studied. We found primary pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) is responsive to diverse immunotherapies whereas liver metastases are resistant. We discovered divergent immune landscapes in each compartment. Compared to primary tumor, liver metastases in both mice and humans are infiltrated by highly anergic T cells and MHCIIloIL10+ macrophages that are unable to present tumor-antigen. Moreover, a distinctive population of CD24+CD44−CD40− B cells dominate liver metastases. These B cells are recruited to the metastatic milieu by Muc1hiIL18hi tumor cells, which are enriched >10-fold in liver metastases. Recruited B cells drive macrophage-mediated adaptive immune-tolerance via CD200 and BTLA. Depleting B cells or targeting CD200/BTLA enhanced macrophage and T-cell immunogenicity and enabled immunotherapeutic efficacy of liver metastases. Our data detail the mechanistic underpinnings for compartment-specific immunotherapy-responsiveness and suggest that primary PDA models are poor surrogates for evaluating immunity in advanced disease.
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This work was supported by the American College of Surgeons Resident Research Fellowship (BD), Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft grant AY 126/1-1 (BA), and NIH grants CA168611 (DC, GM), CA203105 (GM), CA215471 (GM), CA19311 (GM), and DK106025 (GM).
The authors declare no competing interests.
Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
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Diskin, B., Adam, S., Soto, G.S. et al. BTLA+CD200+ B cells dictate the divergent immune landscape and immunotherapeutic resistance in metastatic vs. primary pancreatic cancer. Oncogene 41, 4349–4360 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41388-022-02425-4