Immune monitoring using the predictive power of immune profiles

Michael P. Gustafson, Yi Lin, Betsy LaPlant, Courtney J. Liwski, Mary L. Maas, Stacy C. League, Philippe R. Bauer, Roshini S. Abraham, Matthew K. Tollefson, Eugene D. Kwon, Dennis A. Gastineau, Allan B. Dietz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Background: We have developed a novel approach to categorize immunity in patients that uses a combination of whole blood flow cytometry and hierarchical clustering. Methods: Our approach was based on determining the number (cells/μl) of the major leukocyte subsets in unfractionated, whole blood using quantitative flow cytometry. These measurements were performed in 40 healthy volunteers and 120 patients with glioblastoma, renal cell carcinoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, ovarian cancer or acute lung injury. After normalization, we used unsupervised hierarchical clustering to sort individuals by similarity into discreet groups we call immune profiles. Results: Five immune profiles were identified. Four of the diseases tested had patients distributed across at least four of the profiles. Cancer patients found in immune profiles dominated by healthy volunteers showed improved survival (p < 0.01). Clustering objectively identified relationships between immune markers. We found a positive correlation between the number of granulocytes and immunosuppressive CD14+HLA-DRlo/neg monocytes and no correlation between CD14+HLA-DRlo/neg monocytes and Lin-CD33+HLA-DR- myeloid derived suppressor cells. Clustering analysis identified a potential biomarker predictive of survival across cancer types consisting of the ratio of CD4+ T cells/μl to CD14+HLA-DRlo/neg monocytes/μL of blood. Conclusions: Comprehensive multi-factorial immune analysis resulting in immune profiles were prognostic, uncovered relationships among immune markers and identified a potential biomarker for the prognosis of cancer. Immune profiles may be useful to streamline evaluation of immune modulating therapies and continue to identify immune based biomarkers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7
JournalJournal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer
StatePublished - 2013


  • Biomarker
  • CD14
  • CD4
  • Cancer
  • Human
  • Immunity
  • Monocytes
  • Myeloid suppressor
  • Survival
  • Treg

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cancer Research


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