Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Mouse Study Gives Clues About Sex Differences in Pancreatic Cancer

Using single-cell RNA sequencing and protein analysis, a team led by scientists from the Karolinska Institute has uncovered new details about immune differences that can affect how male and female cancer patients respond to immunotherapy. Previous studies have shown that differences in men and women's immune systems can affect cancer progression and the tumor microenvironment, but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. In this week's study, which appears in Cancer Research, investigators uncover a subpopulation of myeloid cells in pancreatic lesions associated with an immune‐excluded tumor phenotype and effector T cell exhaustion in female mice only. Further analyses revealed that the G-protein coupled receptor FPR2 mediates these immunosuppressive effects and that blocking FPR2 in macrophages could reduce pancreatic tumor growth in female mice. "Deeper understanding of the selective pressures and mechanisms of immune escape in tumors in males and females can inform patient selection strategies and can be utilized to further improve immunotherapy approaches in cancer," the study's authors write.