To verify whether the dysregulation of CD4+
T cells concurs in worsening the outcome of pancreatic cancer, we compared the effects of pancreatic cancer and other gastrointestinal cancer cell-conditioned media on the (1) proliferation, migration, and differentiation of CD4+
T cells and (2) expansion of CD4+
memory (CD45RO), naive (CD45RA), activated (CD69
), and regulatory (CD25) subsets.
After culture of CD4+
T cells in control, pancreatic (BxPC3, Capan1, MiaPaCa2), or gastrointestinal cancer (AGS, HepG2, HT29) cell-conditioned media, we evaluated proliferation, migration, interferon γ (IFNγ) production, and CD45RA, CD45RO, CD69
, and CD25 membrane expression in control and conditioned CD4+
Only pancreatic cancer-conditioned media (1) inhibited CD4+
T-cell proliferation (P
< 0.001) and migration under human stromal cell-derived factor-α chemotaxis (P
< 0.001) and (2) induced CD4+
T-cell IFNγ production (P
< 0.05) and the expansion of the CD69
-positive subset (P
< 0.001) with respect to the control, with no changes being found in the CD45RA, CD45RO, and CD25 subsets.
The in vitro findings achieved in the present study demonstrate that pancreatic cancer cells inhibit CD4+
T-cell proliferation and migration, induce IFNγ production, and favor a CD69+
subset expansion, suggesting that CD4+
T cells play an important role in pancreatic cancer immune evasion.