ARTICLE ABSTRACTPolyinosine–polycytidylic acid [pIC] is a synthetic dsRNA that acts as an immune agonist of TLR3 and RLR to activate dendritic and natural killer cells that can kill tumor cells. pIC can also trigger apoptosis in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma cells (PDAC) but its mechanism of action is obscure. In this study, we investigated the potential therapeutic activity of a formulation of pIC with polyethylenimine ([pIC]PEI) in PDAC and investigated its mechanism of action. [pIC]PEI stimulated apoptosis in PDAC cells without affecting normal pancreatic epithelial cells. Mechanistically, [pIC]PEI repressed XIAP and survivin expression and activated an immune response by inducing MDA-5, RIG-I, and NOXA. Phosphorylation of AKT was inhibited by [pIC]PEI in PDAC, and this event was critical for stimulating apoptosis through XIAP and survivin degradation. In vivo administration of [pIC]PEI inhibited tumor growth via AKT-mediated XIAP degradation in both subcutaneous and quasi-orthotopic models of PDAC. Taken together, these results offer a preclinical proof-of-concept for the evaluation of [pIC]PEI as an immunochemotherapy to treat pancreatic cancer. Cancer Res; 74(21); 6224–35. ©2014 AACR.