Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) is characterized by immune tolerance and immunotherapeutic resistance. We discovered upregulation of receptor-interacting serine/threonine protein kinase 1 (RIP1) in tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) in PDA. To study its role in oncogenic progression, we developed a selective small-molecule RIP1 inhibitor with high in vivo exposure. Targeting RIP1 reprogrammed TAMs toward an MHCIIhiTNFα+IFNγ+ immunogenic phenotype in a STAT1-dependent manner. RIP1 inhibition in TAMs resulted in cytotoxic T cell activation and T helper cell differentiation toward a mixed Th1/Th17 phenotype, leading to tumor immunity in mice and in organotypic models of human PDA. Targeting RIP1 synergized with PD1-and inducible co-stimulator-based immunotherapies. Tumor-promoting effects of RIP1 were independent of its co-association with RIP3. Collectively, our work describes RIP1 as a checkpoint kinase governing tumor immunity.
Keywords: Pancreatic cancer; inflammation; macrophage polarization; tumor immunity.
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