Systems-Level Immune Monitoring by Mass Cytometry

Methods Mol Biol. 2019;1913:33-48. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-8979-9_3.


As therapies involving the modulation, stimulation, and deliberate excitation of the immune system are becoming routine, better methods for monitoring immune responses in human patients are needed. Mass cytometry allows for detailed profiling of all immune cell populations and their functional responses using a simple blood sample. When combined with appropriate computational analyses, the resolution for distinguishing desired responses from unproductive or even adverse reactions to immunotherapeutic interventions increases. Here we describe a core experimental and computational framework for global, systems-level immune monitoring by mass cytometry.

Keywords: CyTOF; Human immunology; Immune monitoring; Mass cytometry; Systems immunology; Tumor immunology.

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents, Immunological / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Immunological / therapeutic use
  • Costimulatory and Inhibitory T-Cell Receptors / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Costimulatory and Inhibitory T-Cell Receptors / immunology*
  • Flow Cytometry / instrumentation
  • Flow Cytometry / methods*
  • Humans
  • Immune System / drug effects
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / drug effects
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / immunology
  • Monitoring, Immunologic / instrumentation
  • Monitoring, Immunologic / methods*
  • Neoplasms / blood
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Single-Cell Analysis / instrumentation
  • Single-Cell Analysis / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Immunological
  • Costimulatory and Inhibitory T-Cell Receptors