Baseline plasma inflammatory profile is associated with response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy in patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma

Asmita Chopra, Ruben Zamora, Yoram Vodovotz, Jacob C. Hodges, Derek Barclay, Randall Brand, Richard L. Simmons, Kenneth K. Lee, Alessandro Paniccia, Pranav Murthy, Michael T. Lotze, Brian A. Boone, Amer H. Zureikat*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Despite its increased application in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), complete response to neoadjuvant therapy (NAT) is rare. Given the critical role of host immunity in regulating cancer, we sought to correlate baseline inflammatory profiles to significant response to NAT. PDAC patients receiving NAT were classified as responders (R) or nonresponders (NR) by carbohydrate antigen 19-9 response, pathologic tumor size, and lymph node status in the resected specimen. Baseline (treatment-naive) plasma was analyzed to determine levels of 27 inflammatory mediators. Logistic regression was used to correlate individual mediators with response. Network analysis and Pearson correlation maps were derived to determine baseline inflammatory mediator profiles. Forty patients (20R and 20NR) met study criteria. The R showed significantly higher overall survival (59.4 vs. 21.25 mo, P = 0.002) and disease-free survival (50.97 vs. 10.60 mo, P = 0.005), compared with NR. soluble interleukin-2 receptor alpha was a significant predictor of no response to NAT (P = 0.045). Analysis of inflammatory profiles using the Pearson heat map analysis followed by network analysis depicted increased inflammatory network complexity in NR compared with R (1.69 vs. 1), signifying a more robust baseline inflammatory status of NR. A panel of inflammatory mediators identified by logistic regression and Fischer score analysis was used to create a potential decision tree to predict NAT response. We demonstrate that baseline inflammatory profiles are associated with response to NAT in PDAC, and that an upregulated inflammatory status is associated with a poor response to NAT. Further analysis into the role of inflammatory mediators as predictors of chemotherapy response is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-192
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immunotherapy
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Cytokines
  • Inflammation
  • Neoadjuvant therapy
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Pathologic response


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