Cytokine Profiling in Plasma from Patients with Brain Tumors Versus Healthy Individuals using 2 Different Multiplex Immunoassay Platforms

Diane Elizabeth Bender, Maximilian O. Schaettler, Kathleen C.F. Sheehan, Tanner M. Johanns, Gavin P. Dunn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


We compared the performance of two 96-well multiplex immunoassay platforms in assessing plasma cytokine concentrations in patients with glioblastoma (GBM; n = 27), individuals with melanoma, breast or lung cancer metastases to the brain (n = 17), and healthy volunteers (n = 11). Assays included a bead-based fluorescence MILLIPLEX® assay/Luminex (LMX) platform and 4 planar electrochemiluminescence kits from Meso Scale Discovery (MSD). The LMX kit evaluated 21 cytokines and the 3 MSD kits evaluated 20 cytokines in total, with 19 overlapping human cytokines between platforms (GM-CSF, IFNγ, IL-1β, IL-2, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-7, IL-8, IL-10, IL-12p70, IL-13, IL-17A, IL-21, IL-23, MIP-1α, MIP-1β, MIP-3α, TNFα). The MSD platform had lower LLoQs (lower limits of quantification) than LMX for 17/19 cytokines, and higher LLoQs for IFN-γ and IL-21. The ULoQs were higher in LMX versus MSD assays for 17/19 shared analytes, but lower than MSD for IL-17A and IL-21. With LMX, all 19 shared analytes were quantifiable in each of 55 samples. Although MSD recombinant protein standard curves indicated lower LLoQs than LMX for most cytokines, MSD detected 7/19 (37%) native analytes in <75% of samples, including 0% detection for IL-21 and 8% for IL-23. The LMX platform categorized identical samples at greater concentrations than the MSD system for most analytes (MIP-1β the sole exception), sometimes by orders of magnitude. This mismatched quantification paradigm was supported by Bland-Altman analysis. LMX identified significantly elevated levels of 10 of 19 circulating cytokines in GBM: GM-CSF, IFN-γ, IL-1β, IL-5, IL-10, IL-17A, IL-21, IL-23, MIP-1α, and MIP-3α, consistent with prior findings and confirming the utility of applying appropriate multiplex immunoassay technologies toward developing a cytokine signature profile for GBM.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBiomarker Insights
StatePublished - 2021


  • Chemokine
  • brain metastases
  • cytokine
  • detection limit
  • dynamic range
  • electrochemiluminescence
  • fluorescence
  • glioblastoma multiforme
  • glioma
  • in vitro assay
  • lower limit of quantification
  • multiplex immunoassay
  • performance
  • precision


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