Immunologic monitoring of cancer vaccine therapy: results of a workshop sponsored by the Society for Biological Therapy.
The Society for Biological Therapy held a Workshop last fall devoted to immune monitoring for cancer immunotherapy trials. Participants included members of the academic and pharmaceutical communities as well as the National Cancer Institute and the Food and Drug Administration. Discussion focused on the relative merits and appropriate use of various immune monitoring tools. Six breakout groups dealt with assays of T-cell function, serologic and proliferation assays to assess B cell and T helper cell activity, and enzyme-linked immunospot assay, tetramer, cytokine flow cytometry, and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction assays of T-cell immunity. General conclusions included: (1) future vaccine studies should be designed to determine whether T-cell dysfunction (tumor-specific and nonspecific) correlated with clinical outcome; (2) tetramer-based assays yield quantitative but not functional data (3) enzyme-linked immunospot assays have the lowest limit of detection (4) cytokine flow cytometry have a higher limit of detection than enzyme-linked immunospot assay, but offer the advantages of speed and the ability to identify subsets of reactive cells; (5) antibody tests are simple and accurate and should be incorporated to a greater extent in monitoring plans; (6) proliferation assays are imprecise and should not be emphasized in future studies; (7) the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction assay is a promising research approach that is not ready for widespread application; and (8)there is a critical need to validate these assays as surrogates for vaccine potency and clinical effect. Current data and opinion support the use of a functional assay like the enzyme-linked immunospot assay or cytokine flow cytometry in combination with a quantitative assay like tetramers for immune monitoring. At present, assays appear to be most useful as measures of vaccine potency. Careful immune monitoring in association with larger scale clinical trials ultimately may enable the correlation of monitoring results with clinical benefit.
Keilholz, U; Weber, J; Finke, JH; Gabrilovich, DI; Kast, WM; Disis, ML; Kirkwood, JM; Scheibenbogen, C; Schlom, J; Maino, VC; Lyerly, HK; Lee, PP; Storkus, W; Marincola, F; Worobec, A; Atkins, MB
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