Intratumoral B cell responses are associated with more favorable clinical outcomes in human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). However, the antigens driving these B cell responses are largely unknown. We sought to discover these antigens by using single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-Seq) and immunoglobulin (Ig) sequencing of tumor-infiltrating immune cells from 7 primary PDAC samples. We identified activated T and B cell responses and evidence of germinal center reactions. Ig sequencing identified plasma cell (PC) clones expressing isotype-switched and hypermutated Igs, suggesting the occurrence of T cell–dependent B cell responses. We assessed the reactivity of 41 recombinant antibodies that represented the products of 235 PCs and 12 B cells toward multiple cell lines and PDAC tissues and observed frequent staining of intracellular self-antigens. Three of these antigens were identified: the filamentous actin (F-actin), the nucleic protein RuvB like AAA ATPase 2 (RUVBL2), and the mitochondrial protein heat shock protein family D (Hsp60) member 1 (HSPD1). Antibody titers against F-actin and HSPD1 were substantially elevated in the plasma of patients with PDAC compared with healthy donors. Thus, PCs in PDAC produce autoantibodies reacting with intracellular self-antigens, which may result from promotion of preexisting, autoreactive B cell responses. These observations indicate the chronic inflammatory microenvironment of PDAC can support the adaptive immune response.


Min Yao, Jonathan Preall, Johannes T.-H. Yeh, Darryl Pappin, Paolo Cifani, Yixin Zhao, Sophia Shen, Philip Moresco, Brian He, Hardik Patel, Amber N. Habowski, Daniel A. King, Kara Raphael, Arvind Rishi, Divyesh Sejpal, Matthew J. Weiss, David Tuveson, Douglas T. Fearon


Download this citation for these citation managers:

Or, download this citation in these formats:

If you experience problems using these citation formats, send us feedback.