Bruton Tyrosine Kinase-Dependent Immune Cell Cross-talk Drives Pancreas Cancer
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 FcR gamma(+) tumor-associated macrophages, resulting in T(H)2-type macrophage programming via BTK activation in a PI3K gamma-dependent manner. Treatment of PDAC-bearing mice with the BTK inhibitor PCI32765 (ibrutinib) or by PI3K gamma inhibition reprogrammed macrophages toward a T(H)1 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. (C) 2015 AACR.