ELISPOT assay in Cancer Research

ELISPOT and cancer

ELISPOT assay applied in cancer research

The development of cervical cancer and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is strongly associated with high-risk infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV), respectively. New tumor-specific vaccines are often tested in animal models and cell lines, e.g. HPV vaccine was tested in mice and cell lines using the IFN-γ and IL-2 ELISPOT assay.1 Detection of antigen-specific T cell responses by the IFN-γ ELISPOT assay in a patient with metastatic cervical cancer helps researchers with the development of new treatment strategies.2

Researchers are trying to stop cancer by inducing tumor-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) against dendritic cells loaded with tumor DNA or tumor homogenate. Another approach is the generation of virus vectored genetic vaccines by, for example using an Adenovirus vector encoding tumor antigens. The response of tumor-specific CTLs can be determined by ELISPOT assay.3,4,5,6,7

Immune checkpoint inhibitors (e.g. anti-PD-1, -PD-L1 or -CTLA-4) have been extensively studied as cancer immunotherapy. PD-1 blockade resulted in a higher number of IFN-γ producing active CTLs.8

The IFN-γ ELISPOT assay has been used to evaluate the immunological efficacy of a high-dose IL-2 treatment in patients with metastatic melanoma and renal cell carcinoma.9

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Examples of studies using our ELISPOT assays:

Click on the authors for the abstract of the below mentioned acticles or find them in our Reference Database.


  1. Liao S et al. (2015). A novel "priming-boosting" strategy for immune interventions in cervical cancer. Mol. Immunol. 64(2): 295-305.
  2. Long J  et al. (2024). HLA-class II restricted TCR targeting human papillomavirus type 18 E7 induces solid tumor remission in mice. Nat Commun 15(1): 2271.
  3. Zhou Y et al. (2023). A pilot study of multi-antigen stimulated cell therapy-I plus camrelizumab and apatinib in patients with advanced bone and soft-tissue sarcomas. BMC Med. 21(1): 470.
  4. Gholizadeh Z et al. (2018). Enhanced immune response induced by P5 HER2/neu-derived peptide-pulsed dendritic cells as a preventive cancer vaccine. World J. Gastroenterol. 22(1): 558-567.
  5. Pancisi E et al. (2022). Stability Program in Dendritic Cell Vaccines: A "Real-World" Experience in the Immuno-Gene Therapy Factory of Romagna Cancer Center. Vaccines 10(7): 999
  6. Mirandola L et al. (2019). A novel method for efficient generation of antigen-specific effector T-cells using dendritic cells transduced with recombinant adeno-associated virus and p38 kinase blockade. J Transl Med 17: 424
  7. D'Alise AM et al. (2023). Adenovirus Encoded Adjuvant (AdEnA) anti-CTLA-4, a novel strategy to improve Adenovirus based vaccines against infectious diseases and cancer. Front Immunol. 14: 1156714.
  8. Liang L et al. (2019). Safety and efficacy of PD-1 blockade-activated multiple antigen-specific cellular therapy alone or in combination with apatinib in patients with advanced solid tumors: a pooled analysis of two prospective trials. Cancer Immunol. Immunother. 68(9): 1467-1477.
  9. Bulgarelli J et al. (2021). Radiotherapy and High-Dose Interleukin-2: Clinical and Immunological Results of a Proof of Principle Study in Metastatic Melanoma and Renal Cell Carcinoma. Front Immunol 12: 778459.