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Title: Tumour-stroma interaction in pancreatic cancer
Author: Lunardi, Serena
ISNI:       0000 0004 2747 6420
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is characterised by an abundant desmoplastic reaction driven by pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs). There is accumulating evidence that PSCs influence the malignant phenotype of PDAC. The aim of this study was to analyse the tumour response to radiation treatment in the presence of PSCs and to investigate the cytokine network in the coculture of PSCs and pancreatic cancer cells (PCCs). PSCs were used in coculture with different PCC lines. Clonogenic survival assays of several PCC lines cocultured with PSCs showed decreased radiosensitivity. This effect was abrogated by inhibition of the β1-integrin/FAK signalling pathway. Furthermore, tumour regrowth experiments after irradiation showed that coinjected PSCs were radioprotective for PCCs after single-dose and fractionated irradiation in xenografts. In addition, we examined the expression of 50 proteins in the supernatants of PCCs and PSCs in mono- and coculture conditions. The detected cytokine expression profile of PSCs included many proinflammatory factors. Also, we identified IP-10 as the chemokine with the highest differential upregulation in PSCs by paracrine stimuli from five different PCC lines. Human PDAC with a high stroma component had elevated IP-10 mRNA expression. IP-10 did not stimulate tumour cell growth and migration in our conditions even though several PCCs expressed its cognate receptor CXCR3. Nevertheless, we discovered that in human PDAC samples IP-10 and CXCR3 mRNA levels correlated with the presence of CD3ε, CD4, FoxP3, CTLA4 and CD39 used as surrogate markers for T regulatory cells (Tregs), known to exert an immunosuppressive effect. In conclusion, these data demonstrate that PSCs enhance survival of PCCs to radiation by activating β1-integrin/FAK signalling. Furthermore, the interaction between the tumour stroma in pancreatic cancer may support an immunosuppression by chemoattraction of Tregs following upregulation of IP-10. Further characterisation of the paracrine signalling between PCCs, PSCs and immune cells will improve the understanding of pancreatic cancer biology and could lead to the identification of new targets for multimodal therapy.
Supervisor: Brunner, Thomas Sponsor: MRC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Medical Sciences ; Tumours ; Oncology ; Biology (medical sciences) ; Pancreatic cancer ; Microenvironment ; Stroma ; Pancreatic Stellate Cells