Interaction of immune checkpoint PD-1 and chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4) promotes a malignant phenotype in pancreatic cancer cells

Megan M. Harper, Miranda Lin, Michael J. Cavnar, Prakash K. Pandalai, Reema A. Patel, Mei Gao, Joseph Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Despite recent therapeutic advances, pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) remains a devastating disease with limited therapeutic options. Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have demonstrated promising results in many cancers, but thus far have yielded little clinical benefit in PDAC. Based on recent combined targeting of programmed cell death protein-1 (PD-1) and C-X-C chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4) in patient-derived xenografts (PDXs) and a pilot clinical trial, we sought to elucidate potential interactions between PD-1 and CXCR4. We observed concomitant expression and direct interaction of PD-1 and CXCR4 in PDAC cells. This interaction was disrupted upon CXCR4 antagonism with AMD3100 and led to increased cell surface expression of PD-1. Importantly, CXCR4-mediated PDAC cell migration was also blocked by PD-1 inhibition. Our work provides a possible mechanism by which prior studies have demonstrated that combined CXCR4 and PD-1 inhibition leads to decreased tumor growth. This is the first report investigating PD-1 and CXCR4 interactions in PDAC cells and our results can serve as the basis for further investigation of combined therapeutic targeting of CXCR4 and PD-1.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0270832
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number7 July
StatePublished - Jul 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Harper et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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