The purpose of this study was to investigate whether splenectomy influences the tumor growth and metastatic pattern in an orthotopic syngeneic murine pancreatic cancer model. Murine pancreatic cancer cells (PAN02) were subcutaneously injected into the flanks of nude mice. A small tumor fragment (3 mm2), harvested from a subcutaneous tumor. was orthotopically implanted in the tail of the pancreas of C57/BL6 mice without splenectomy (control group, n=15) or with simultaneous splenectomy (splenectomy group, n=15). Tumor growth and metastatic patterns were analyzed by laparotomy at 21 days after surgery. No tumor growth was found in 5 mice (33.3%) of the control group and 1 mouse (6.7%) of the splenectomy group (p=0.169). Tumor volume was significantly larger in splenectomy group (p=0.013). Peritoneal seeding was more frequently observed in the splenectomy group (11 (73.3%) vs. 4 (26.7%), p=0.011). There were no differences in the number of liver and kidney metastasis between the two groups. The ratios of tumor-infiltrating CD4+ to FoxP3+ and CD8+ to FoxP3+ were significantly higher in the control group compared to the splenectomy group (8.2 ± 9.3 vs. 2.4 ± 1.5, p=0.046; 2.5 ± 1.4 vs. 1.5 ± 0.4, p=0.031, respectively). Splenectomy enhanced tumor growth and peritoneal seeding in an orthotopic syngeneic murine pancreatic cancer mouse model. The ramification of these results are discussed for pancreatic cancer treatment.
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