Background: Gram-negative bacteria mediated gemcitabine resistance in pre-clinical models. We determined if intratumoural lipopolysaccharide (LPS) detection by immunohistochemistry is associated with outcome in advanced pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) treated with gemcitabine and non-gemcitabine containing 1st-line chemotherapy.
Methods: We examined LPS on tumour tissue from 130 patients treated within the randomised AIO-PK0104 trial and a validation cohort (n = 113) and analysed the association of LPS detection to patient outcome according to treatment subgroups.
Results: In 24% of samples from the AIO-PK0104 study LPS was detected; in LPS-positive patients median OS was 4.4 months, compared to 7.3 months with LPS negative tumours (HR 1.732, p = 0.010). A difference in OS was detected in 1st-line gemcitabine-treated patients (n = 71; HR 2.377, p = 0.002), but not in the non-gemcitabine treatment subgroup (n = 59; HR 1.275, p = 0.478). Within the validation cohort, the LPS positivity rate was 23%, and LPS detection was correlated with impaired OS in the gemcitabine subgroup (n = 94; HR 1.993, p = 0.008) whereas no difference in OS was observed in the non-gemcitabine subgroup (n = 19; HR 2.596, p = 0.219).
Conclusions: The detection of intratumoural LPS as surrogate marker for gram-negative bacterial colonisation may serve as a negative predictor for gemcitabine efficacy in advanced PDAC.
Clinical trial registry: The Clinical trial registry identifier is NCT00440167.