Monitoring immune responses in cancer patients receiving tumor vaccines

Int Rev Immunol. May-Aug 2003;22(3-4):283-319. doi: 10.1080/08830180305226.


Clinical evaluation of therapeutic tumor vaccines has resulted in examination and comparison of the types of immune function assays required to monitor tumor antigen-stimulated T cell effector function in immunized patients. Three of the most commonly used assays include ELISPOT, tetramer assay, and cytokine flow cytometry (CFC). Discussed are the method and principles for each assay and an assessment of important methodological, reagent, and data acquisition issues that are relevant for the accurate and effective use of the assays. The sensitivity and utility of the assays and present arguments advocating their integrated use in future immunomonitoring studies are also discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Cancer Vaccines / immunology
  • Cancer Vaccines / therapeutic use*
  • Cytokines / analysis
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Monitoring, Physiologic
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Cancer Vaccines
  • Cytokines