Publications & Reports

Flow cytometric measurement of intracellular cytokines detects immune responses in MUC1 immunotherapy.

Karanikas V, Lodding J, Maino VC, McKenzie IF
Immunology and Vaccine Laboratory, The Austin Research Institute, Victoria, Australia.


The detection of tumor-specific T cells in immunized cancer patients usually relies on lengthy and difficult CTL assays; we now report on flow cytometry to detect the intracellular cytokines interleukin 2 (IL-2), IL-4, IFN-gamma, and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) produced by CD4+CD69+ and CD8+CD69+ activated T cells after MUC1 antigen stimulation. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were obtained from 12 patients with adenocarcinoma injected with mannan-MUC1; cells were exposed in vitro for 18 h to MUCI peptide in the presence of CD28 monoclonal antibody and Brefeldin; permeabilized cells were used for the expression of cytokines. After stimulation in vitro with MUC1-variable number of tandem repeats peptides, CD8+CD69+ T cells from all immunized patients generated 3-9 times higher levels of TNF-alpha(P < 0.038) and IFN-gamma (P <0.010) than did cells from 12 normal subjects; minor increases in IL-4 occurred. By contrast, CD4+CD69+ cells showed no overall alteration in TNF-alpha and IFN-gamma cytokine production, although in some patients, their measurement was informative; the measurement of IL-2 was not useful in either CD4+CD69+ or CD8+CD69+ cells. We conclude that in MUC1-immunized patients, the measurement of TNF-alpha and IFN-gamma in activated CD69+CD8+ T cells may be indicative of their immune status.


  • Journal: Clinical Cancer Research
  • Published: 01/03/2000
  • Volume: 6
  • Issue: 3
  • Pagination: 829-837