JOURNAL OF SHANGHAI JIAOTONG UNIVERSITY (MEDICAL SCIENCE) ›› 2021, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (8): 1103-1108.doi: 10.3969/j.issn.1674-8115.2021.08.018

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Review of immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment of pancreatic cancer

Jing-wei LI(), Li-wen WANG(), Ling-xi JIANG, Qian ZHAN, Hao CHEN, Bai-yong SHEN()   

  1. Department of General Surgery, Pancreatic Disease Center, Ruijin Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine;Research Institute of Pancreatic Diseases, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai 200025, China
  • Online:2021-08-28 Published:2021-07-28
  • Contact: Bai-yong SHEN;
  • Supported by:
    General Program of National Natural Science Foundation of China(81871906);Shanghai Leading Talents(2017274)


Pancreatic cancer is a highly malignant tumor. The difficulty of early diagnosis and scarcity of effective clinical treatment strategies lead to poor prognosis. Tumor microenvironment (TME) of pancreatic cancer is composed of tumor cells, immune cells, stromal cells, extracellular matrix and soluble factors. TME plays an important role in the development, progression, invasion and metastasis of tumors. The pancreatic cancer microenvironment has significant immune cell infiltration, which is highly immunosuppressive. On the one hand, tumor cells edit the immune system so that cancer cells cannot be recognized by the immune system; on the other hand, they can recruit and activate various immunosuppressive cells such as pancreatic stellate cells, myeloid-derived inhibitory cells, tumor-associated macrophages, regulatory T cells and so on. These immunosuppressive cells can secrete immunosuppressive molecules, affect the function of anti-tumor immune cells, inhibit the host′s anti-tumor immune response, lead to tumor immune escape, and promote tumor development and metastasis. In this review, the mechanisms and effects of these immunosuppressive components are discussed and the updated results of immunotherapy on pancreatic cancer are studied, which may provide novel insights on TME and immunotherapy of pancreatic cancer.

Key words: pancreatic cancer, tumor microenvironment (TME), immunosuppression, immunotherapy

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