Monitoring PD-1-Blocking Antibodies Bound to T Cells Derived from a Drop of Peripheral Blood

This article has been accepted and is currently in production


Immune checkpoint inhibitors, including PD-1–blocking antibodies, have significantly improved treatment outcomes in various types of cancer. The pharmacological efficacy of these immunotherapies is long lasting, extending even beyond the discontinuation of their injections, due to persistent blood concentrations. Here we developed a simple flow cytometry assay to evaluate the T cell binding status of the PD-1–blocking antibodies nivolumab and pembrolizumab. Like a glucose test, this assay requires just a single drop of peripheral blood. Visualizing antibody binding on T cells is more reliable than measuring antibody blood concentrations. In addition, if necessary, we can potentially analyze many distinctive immune-related markers on T cells bound to PD-1–blocking antibodies. Thus, this is a simple and minimally invasive strategy to analyze the pharmacological effect of PD-1–blocking antibodies in cancer patients.