New Approaches for Monitoring CTL Activity in Clinical Trials

  • Anatoli Malyguine
  • Susan Strobl
  • Liubov Zaritskaya
  • Michael Baseler
  • Kimberly Shafer-Weaver
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 601)


We have developed a modification of the ELISPOT assay that measures Granzyme B (GrB) release from cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs). The GrB ELISPOT assay is a superior alternative to the 51Cr-release assay since it is significantly more sensitive and provides an estimation of cytotoxic effector cell frequency. Additionally, unlike the IFN-γ ELISPOT assay, the GrB ELISPOT directly measures the release of a cytolytic protein. We report that the GrB ELISPOT can be utilized to measure ex vivo antigen-specific cytotoxicity of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from cancer patients vaccinated with a peptide-based cancer vaccine. We compare the reactivity of patients’ PBMCs in the GrB ELISPOT, with reactivity in the tetramer, IFN-γ ELISPOT and chromium (51Cr)-release assays. Differences in immune response over all assays tested were found between patients, and four response patterns were observed. Reactivity in the GrB ELISPOT was more closely associated with cytotoxicity in the 51Cr-release assay than the tetramer or IFN-γ gLISPOT assays. We also optimized the GrB ELISPOT assay to directly measure immune responses against autologous primary tumor cells in vaccinated cancer patients. A perforin ELISPOT assay was also adapted to evaluate peptide-stimulated reactivity of PMBCs from vaccinated melanoma patients. Modifications of the ELISPOT assay described in this chapter allow a more comprehensive evaluation of low-frequency tumor-specific CTLs and their specific effector functions and can provide a valuable insight into immune responses in cancer vaccine trials.


Melanoma Patient Cancer Vaccine ELISPOT Assay Tetramer Assay Cancer Vaccine Trial 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anatoli Malyguine
    • 1
  • Susan Strobl
    • 1
  • Liubov Zaritskaya
    • 1
  • Michael Baseler
    • 1
  • Kimberly Shafer-Weaver
    • 1
  1. 1.Applied and Developmental Research Support ProgramSAIC-Frederick, Inc., NCI-FrederickFrederickUSA

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