Mass Spectrometry Advances and Perspectives for the Characterization of Emerging Adoptive Cell Therapies

Molecules. 2020 Mar 19;25(6):1396. doi: 10.3390/molecules25061396.


Adoptive cell therapy is an emerging anti-cancer modality, whereby the patient's own immune cells are engineered to express T-cell receptor (TCR) or chimeric antigen receptor (CAR). CAR-T cell therapies have advanced the furthest, with recent approvals of two treatments by the Food and Drug Administration of Kymriah (trisagenlecleucel) and Yescarta (axicabtagene ciloleucel). Recent developments in proteomic analysis by mass spectrometry (MS) make this technology uniquely suited to enable the comprehensive identification and quantification of the relevant biochemical architecture of CAR-T cell therapies and fulfill current unmet needs for CAR-T product knowledge. These advances include improved sample preparation methods, enhanced separation technologies, and extension of MS-based proteomic to single cells. Innovative technologies such as proteomic analysis of raw material quality attributes (MQA) and final product quality attributes (PQA) may provide insights that could ultimately fuel development strategies and lead to broad implementation.

Keywords: CAR-T; biopharmaceutical; mass spectrometry; proteomics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, CD19 / therapeutic use
  • Biological Products
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy, Adoptive / methods*
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Proteomics / methods*
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / therapeutic use
  • Single-Cell Analysis


  • Antigens, CD19
  • Biological Products
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell
  • tisagenlecleucel
  • axicabtagene ciloleucel