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STING Activated Tumor-Intrinsic Type I Interferon Signaling Promotes CXCR3 Dependent Antitumor Immunity in Pancreatic Cancer. Cell Mol Gastroenterol Hepatol 2021;12(1):41-58



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Pubmed Central ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-85104314508   14 Citations


BACKGROUND & AIMS: Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) is a lethal chemoresistant cancer that exhibits early metastatic spread. The highly immunosuppressive PDA tumor microenvironment renders patients resistant to emerging immune-targeted therapies. Building from our prior work, we evaluated stimulator of interferon genes (STING) agonist activation of PDA cell interferon-α/β-receptor (IFNAR) signaling in systemic antitumor immune responses.

METHODS: PDA cells were implanted subcutaneously to wild-type, IFNAR-, or CXCR3-knockout mice. Tumor growth was monitored, and immune responses were comprehensively profiled.

RESULTS: Human and mouse STING agonist ADU-S100 reduced local and distal tumor burden and activated systemic antitumor immune responses in PDA-bearing mice. Effector T-cell infiltration and inflammatory cytokine and chemokine production, including IFN-dependent CXCR3-agonist chemokines, were elevated, whereas suppressive immune populations were decreased in treated tumors. Intratumoral STING agonist treatment also generated inflammation in distal noninjected tumors and peripheral immune tissues. STING agonist treatment of type I IFN-responsive PDA tumors engrafted to IFNAR-/- recipient mice was sufficient to contract tumors and stimulate local and systemic T-cell activation. Tumor regression and CD8+ T-cell infiltration were abolished in PDA engrafted to CXCR3-/- mice treated with STING agonist.

CONCLUSIONS: These data indicate that STING agonists promote T-cell infiltration and counteract immune suppression in locally treated and distant tumors. Tumor-intrinsic type I IFN signaling initiated systemic STING-mediated antitumor inflammation and required CXCR3 expression. STING-mediated induction of systemic immune responses provides an approach to harness the immune system to treat primary and disseminated pancreatic cancers.

Author List

Vonderhaar EP, Barnekow NS, McAllister D, McOlash L, Eid MA, Riese MJ, Tarakanova VL, Johnson BD, Dwinell MB


Michael B. Dwinell PhD Director, Professor in the Microbiology and Immunology department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Bryon D. Johnson PhD Professor in the Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Vera Tarakanova PhD Associate Professor in the Microbiology and Immunology department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Emily Vonderhaar in the CTSI department at Medical College of Wisconsin - CTSI

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Cell Line, Tumor
Membrane Proteins
Mice, Inbred C57BL
Mice, Knockout
Receptor, Interferon alpha-beta
Receptors, CXCR3
Signal Transduction