This study examined the composition of the immune microenvironment at different sites within resected pancreas specimens from patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). Therefore, single-cell suspensions were made from fresh tumor and non-tumorous tissue. Fourteen patients were included from whom twelve PDAC and five non-tumorous samples were obtained. These samples were analyzed with a nineteen marker panel on the Aurora spectral flow cytometer. Furthermore, slides from formalin-fixed paraffine PDACs of eight additional patients were stained with eight markers and analyzed by multispectral imaging. These corresponded to central tumor, periphery of the tumor, i.e., invasive front and resected lymph node and were divided into tumor and adjacent tissue. In the single-cell suspension, a decreased ratio between lymphoid and myeloid cells and between M1 and M2 macrophages was observed in the tumor tissue compared to non-tumorous tissue. Furthermore, an increase in CD169 + macrophages in patients undergoing neoadjuvant therapy was found. Using immunofluorescence, more macrophages compared to T cells were observed, as well as a lower ratio of CD8 to M2 macrophage, a higher ratio of CD4–CD8 T cells and a higher ratio of immune-suppressive cells to pro-inflammatory cells in the PDAC area compared to the adjacent non-tumorous tissue. Finally, there were more immune-suppressive cells in the central tumor area compared to the invasive front. In conclusion, we show a gradient in the immune-suppressive environment in PDAC from most suppressive in the central tumor to least suppressive in distant non-tumorous tissue. Graphical abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.].
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4385-4397
Number of pages13
JournalCancer Immunology, Immunotherapy
Issue number12
Early online date2023
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • Immunology
  • Neoadjuvant therapy
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Tumor microenvironment

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