Publications by authors named "Frederick L Locke"

68 Publications

Incidence and Management of Effusions Before and After CD19-Directed Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T Cell Therapy in Large B Cell Lymphoma.

Transplant Cell Ther 2021 Mar 27;27(3):242.e1-242.e6. Epub 2020 Dec 27.

Department of Blood and Marrow Transplant and Cellular Immunotherapy, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, Florida; Department of Oncologic Sciences, Morsani College of Medicine, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida. Electronic address:

In patients with lymphoma, third-space fluid accumulations may develop or worsen during cytokine release syndrome (CRS) associated with chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy. Pre-existing symptomatic pleural effusions were excluded by the ZUMA-1 trial of axicabtagene ciloleucel for large B cell lymphoma (LBCL) and variants. The incidence and management of effusions during CAR T cell therapy for LBCL are unknown. We performed a single-center retrospective study evaluating 148 patients receiving CD19-directed CAR T cell therapy for LBCL between May 2015 and September 2019. We retrospectively identified patients who had radiographic pleural, pericardial, or peritoneal effusions that were present prior to the time of CAR T infusion (pre-CAR T) or that newly developed during the first 30 days after CAR T-cell infusion (post-CAR T). Of 148 patients, 19 patients had a pre-CAR T effusion, 17 patients without pre-existing effusion developed a new infusion after CAR T, and 112 patients had no effusions. Comparing pre-CAR T effusions to new effusions post-CAR T, pre-CAR T effusions were more often malignant (84% versus 12%), persistent beyond 30 days (95% versus 18%), and required interventional drainage after CAR T infusion (79% versus 0%). Compared to patients with no effusion, patients with pre-CAR T therapy effusions had a higher frequency of high-risk baseline characteristics, such as bulky disease and high International Prognostic Index. Similarly, patients with pre-CAR T therapy effusions had a higher rate of toxicity with grade 3 or higher CRS occurring in 32% of patients. On multivariate analysis adjusting for age, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group status, bulky disease, albumin, and lactate dehydrogenase, a pre-CAR T therapy effusion was associated with reduced overall survival (hazard ratio, 2.34; 95% confidence interval, 1.09 to 5.03; P = .03). Moreover, there was higher non-relapse mortality (11% versus 1%; P = .005). Post-CAR T effusions were not associated with significant difference in survival. Effusions commonly complicate CAR T cell therapy for lymphoma. Malignant effusions that occur prior to CAR T therapy are frequently persistent and require therapeutic intervention, and patients have a higher rate of toxicity and death. Effusions that newly occur after CAR T therapy can generally be managed medically and tend not to persist.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtct.2020.12.025DOI Listing
March 2021

The roles of T cell competition and stochastic extinction events in chimeric antigen receptor T cell therapy.

Proc Biol Sci 2021 Mar 24;288(1947):20210229. Epub 2021 Mar 24.

Department of Integrated Mathematical Oncology, Research Institute, Tampa, FL, USA.

Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy is a remarkably effective immunotherapy that relies on expansion of engineered CAR T cells, after lymphodepletion (LD) by chemotherapy. The quantitative laws underlying this expansion and subsequent tumour eradication remain unknown. We develop a mathematical model of T cell-tumour cell interactions and demonstrate that expansion can be explained by immune reconstitution dynamics after LD and competition among T cells. CAR T cells rapidly grow and engage tumour cells but experience an emerging growth rate disadvantage compared to normal T cells. Since tumour eradication is deterministically unstable in our model, we define cure as a stochastic event, which, even when likely, can occur at variable times. However, we show that variability in timing is largely determined by patient variability. While cure events impacted by these fluctuations occur early and are narrowly distributed, progression events occur late and are more widely distributed in time. We parameterized our model using population-level CAR T cell and tumour data over time and compare our predictions with progression-free survival rates. We find that therapy could be improved by optimizing the tumour-killing rate and the CAR T cells' ability to adapt, as quantified by their carrying capacity. Our tumour extinction model can be leveraged to examine why therapy works in some patients but not others, and to better understand the interplay of deterministic and stochastic effects on outcomes. For example, our model implies that LD before a second CAR T injection is necessary.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2021.0229DOI Listing
March 2021

Quality of life in caregivers of patients receiving chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy.

Psychooncology 2021 Mar 19. Epub 2021 Mar 19.

Department of Health Outcomes and Behavior, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, Florida, USA.

Objective: Informal family caregivers provide critical support for patients receiving chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy. However, caregivers' experiences are largely unstudied. This study examined quality of life (QOL; physical functioning, pain, fatigue, anxiety, and depression), caregiving burden, and treatment-related distress in caregivers in the first 6 months after CAR T-cell therapy, when caregivers were expected to be most involved in providing care. Relationships between patients' clinical course and caregiver outcomes were also explored.

Methods: Caregivers completed measures examining QOL and burden before patients' CAR T-cell therapy and at days 90 and 180. Treatment-related distress was assessed at days 90 and 180. Patients' clinical variables were extracted from medical charts. Change in outcomes was assessed using means and 99% confidence intervals. Association of change in outcomes with patient clinical variables was assessed with backward elimination analysis.

Results: A total of 99 caregivers (mean age 59, 73% female) provided data. Regarding QOL, pain was significantly higher than population norms at baseline but improved by day 180 (p < .01). Conversely, anxiety worsened over time (p < .01). Caregiver burden and treatment-related distress did not change over time. Worsening caregiver depression by day 180 was associated with lower patient baseline performance status (p < .01). Worse caregiver treatment-related distress at day 180 was associated with lower performance status, intensive care unit admission, and lack of disease response at day 90 (ps < 0.01).

Conclusions: Some CAR T-cell therapy caregivers experience pain, anxiety, and burden, which may be associated patients' health status. Further research is warranted regarding the experience of CAR T-cell therapy caregivers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pon.5674DOI Listing
March 2021

Cost effectiveness of axicabtagene ciloleucel versus tisagenlecleucel for adult patients with relapsed or refractory large B-cell lymphoma after 2 or more lines of systemic therapy in the United States.

J Med Econ 2021 Mar 10. Epub 2021 Mar 10.

Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL, USA.

Aims: To assess from a US payer perspective the cost-effectiveness of the chimeric antigen receptor T (CAR T)-cell therapies axicabtagene ciloleucel (axi-cel) and tisagenlecleucel (tisa-cel) to treat relapsed or refractory (r/r) large B-cell lymphoma (LBCL) following ≥2 systemic therapy lines.

Methods: A 3-state (i.e., pre-progression, post-progression, death) partitioned survival model was used to estimate the quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) and costs for patients on each treatment over a lifetime horizon. Progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were based on a matching-adjusted indirect treatment comparison (MAIC) that accounted for differences in trial population baseline characteristics. Mixture-cure models (MCMs) were used to account for long-term survivors. Costs included drug acquisition and administration for the CAR T-cell therapies and conditioning chemotherapy, apheresis, CAR T-specific monitoring, transplant, hospitalization, adverse events, routine care, and terminal care. Health state utilities were derived from trial and published data. Sensitivity analyses included probabilistic sensitivity analyses (PSAs) and an analysis of extremes that assessed the results across a vast array of combinations of parametric OS and PFS curves across the 2 therapies.

Results: Compared to tisa-cel, axi-cel resulted in 2.31 QALYs gained and a cost reduction of $1,407 in the base case. In the PSA, the cost per QALY gained was ≤$31,500 in 95% of the 1,000 simulations. In the analysis of extremes, the cost per QALY gained was ≤$7,500 in 99% of the 1,296 combinations of MCMs and ≤$40,000 in 95% of the 1,296 combinations of standard models.

Limitations: In absence of head-to-head comparative data, we relied on a MAIC, which cannot account for all possible confounders. Moreover, some outcomes (i.e., transplantations, hospitalizations, AEs) were not adjusted in the MAIC.

Conclusions: In this simulation, axi-cel was a superior treatment option as it is predicted to achieve better outcomes at lower or minimal incremental costs versus tisa-cel.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13696998.2021.1901721DOI Listing
March 2021

Acute patient-reported outcomes in B-cell malignancies treated with axicabtagene ciloleucel.

Cancer Med 2021 Mar 28;10(6):1936-1943. Epub 2021 Feb 28.

Moffitt Cancer Center, Department of Health Outcomes and Behavior, Tampa, FL, USA.

Chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy with axicabtagene ciloleucel (axi-cel) has considerably improved survival in adults with relapsed/refractory large B-cell lymphoma. This study reports patient-reported outcomes (PROs) such as quality of life (QOL) and toxicity in the first 90 days after treatment. Hematologic cancer patients treated with axi-cel (N = 103, mean age = 61, 39% female) completed SF-36 or PROMIS-29 QOL questionnaires prior to treatment and 90 days after. PRO-Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events toxicity items were completed by patients at baseline and 14, 30, 60, and 90 days after treatment. Mixed models examined change in PROs over time. From preinfusion to 90 days later, patients reported improvements in physical functioning, pain, and fatigue (ps < 0.01), but worsening of anxiety (p = 0.02). Patient-reported toxicities worsened by day 14 with improvement thereafter. The five most severe symptoms at day 14 included fatigue, decreased appetite, dry mouth, diarrhea frequency, and problems with concentration. Results indicate improvement in some domains of QOL over time with transient patient-reported toxicities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cam4.3664DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7957158PMC
March 2021

A phase 2 trial of GVHD prophylaxis with PTCy, sirolimus, and MMF after peripheral blood haploidentical transplantation.

Blood Adv 2021 Mar;5(5):1154-1163

Blood and Marrow Transplant and Cellular Immunotherapy, and.

The introduction of posttransplant cyclophosphamide (PTCy) made performing allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) from HLA haplotype-incompatible donors possible. In a setting of PTCy and tacrolimus/mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) as a graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) prophylaxis, a peripheral blood (PB) graft source as compared with bone marrow reduces the relapse rate but increases acute GVHD (aGVHD) and chronic GVHD (cGVHD). This phase 2 trial assessed sirolimus and MMF efficacy following PTCy as a GVHD prophylaxis after PB haploidentical HCT (haplo-HCT). With 32 evaluable patients (≥18 years) enrolled, this study had 90% power to demonstrate a reduction in 100-day grade II-IV aGVHD to 20% from the historical benchmark of 40% after haplo-HCT using PTCy/tacrolimus/MMF. At a median follow-up of 16.1 months, the primary end point of the trial was met with a day-100 grade II-IV aGVHD cumulative incidence of 18.8% (95% confidence interval [CI], 7.5% to 34.0%). There were no graft-failure events and the 1-year probability of National Institutes of Health (NIH) moderate/severe cGVHD was 18.8% (95% CI, 7.4% to 34.0%), nonrelapse mortality was 18.8% (95% CI, 7.4% to 34.0%), relapse was 22.2% (95% CI, 9.6% to 38.2%), disease-free survival was 59.0% (95% CI, 44.1% to 79.0%), GVHD-free relapse-free survival was 49.6% (95% CI, 34.9% to 70.5%), and overall survival was 71.7% (95% CI, 57.7% to 89.2%) for the entire cohort. These data demonstrate that GVHD prophylaxis with sirolimus/MMF following PTCy effectively prevents grade II-IV aGVHD after PB haplo-HCT, warranting prospective comparison of sirolimus vs tacrolimus in combination with MMF following PTCy as GVHD prophylaxis after PB HCT. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT03018223.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2020003779DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7948297PMC
March 2021

Proceedings From the First International Workshop at Sidra Medicine: "Engineered Immune Cells in Cancer Immunotherapy (EICCI): From Discovery to Off-the-Shelf Development", 15-16 February 2019, Doha, Qatar.

Front Immunol 2020 14;11:589381. Epub 2021 Jan 14.

Research Department, Sidra Medicine, Doha, Qatar.

The progress in the isolation and characterization of tumor antigen (TA)-specific T lymphocytes and in the genetic modification of immune cells allowed the clinical development of adoptive cell therapy (ACT). Several clinical studies highlighted the striking clinical activity of T cells engineered to express either Chimeric Antigen (CAR) or T Cell (TCR) Receptors to target molecularly defined antigens expressed on tumor cells. The breakthrough of immunotherapy is represented by the approval of CAR-T cells specific for advanced or refractory CD19 B cell malignancies by both the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicinal Agency (EMA). Moreover, advances in the manufacturing and gene editing of engineered immune cells contributed to the selection of drug products with desired phenotype, refined specificity and decreased toxicity. An important step toward the optimization of CAR-T cell therapy is the development of "off-the shelf" T cell products that allow to reduce the complexity and the costs of the manufacturing and to render these drugs available for a broad number of cancer patients. The Engineered Immune Cells in Cancer Immunotherapy (EICCI) workshop hosted in Doha, Qatar, renowned experts, from both academia and industry, to present and discuss the progress on both pre-clinical and clinical development of genetically modified immune cells, including advances in the "off-the-shelf" manufacturing. These experts have addressed also organizational needs and hurdles for the clinical grade production and application of these biological drugs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2020.589381DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7874217PMC
January 2021

Tumor interferon signaling and suppressive myeloid cells associate with CAR T cell failure in large B cell lymphoma.

Blood 2021 Jan 15. Epub 2021 Jan 15.

Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, Florida, United States.

Axicabtagene ciloleucel (axi-cel) is a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy for relapsed or refractory large B cell lymphoma (LBCL). Here, we evaluated whether immune dysregulation, present prior to CAR-T cell therapy, associated with treatment failure. Tumor expression of interferon (IFN) signaling, high blood levels of monocytic myeloid-derived suppressor cells (M-MDSCs), and high blood IL-6 and ferritin each associated with a lack of durable response. Similar to other cancers, we found that in LBCL tumor IFN signaling is associated with the expression of multiple checkpoint ligands including PD-L1, and these were higher in patients who lacked durable responses to CAR-T therapy. Moreover, tumor IFN signaling and blood M-MDSCs associated with decreased axi-cel expansion. Finally, patients with high tumor burden had higher immune dysregulation with increased serum inflammatory markers and tumor IFN signaling. These data support that immune dysregulation in LBCL promotes axi-cel resistance via multiple mechanistic programs: insufficient axi-cel expansion associated with both circulating M-MDSC and tumor IFN signaling, that also gives rise to expression of immune checkpoint ligands.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood.2020007445DOI Listing
January 2021

Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) clinical practice guideline on immune effector cell-related adverse events.

J Immunother Cancer 2020 12;8(2)

Cancer Immunotherapy Program, Division of Oncology, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Immune effector cell (IEC) therapies offer durable and sustained remissions in significant numbers of patients with hematological cancers. While these unique immunotherapies have improved outcomes for pediatric and adult patients in a number of disease states, as 'living drugs,' their toxicity profiles, including cytokine release syndrome (CRS) and immune effector cell-associated neurotoxicity syndrome (ICANS), differ markedly from conventional cancer therapeutics. At the time of article preparation, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved tisagenlecleucel, axicabtagene ciloleucel, and brexucabtagene autoleucel, all of which are IEC therapies based on genetically modified T cells engineered to express chimeric antigen receptors (CARs), and additional products are expected to reach marketing authorization soon and to enter clinical development in due course. As IEC therapies, especially CAR T cell therapies, enter more widespread clinical use, there is a need for clear, cohesive recommendations on toxicity management, motivating the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) to convene an expert panel to develop a clinical practice guideline. The panel discussed the recognition and management of common toxicities in the context of IEC treatment, including baseline laboratory parameters for monitoring, timing to onset, and pharmacological interventions, ultimately forming evidence- and consensus-based recommendations to assist medical professionals in decision-making and to improve outcomes for patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jitc-2020-001511DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7745688PMC
December 2020

Tumor burden, inflammation, and product attributes determine outcomes of axicabtagene ciloleucel in large B-cell lymphoma.

Blood Adv 2020 10;4(19):4898-4911

Kite, a Gilead Company, Santa Monica, CA.

ZUMA-1 demonstrated a high rate of durable response and a manageable safety profile with axicabtagene ciloleucel (axi-cel), an anti-CD19 chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy, in patients with refractory large B-cell lymphoma. As previously reported, prespecified clinical covariates for secondary end point analysis were not clearly predictive of efficacy; these included Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status (0 vs 1), age, disease subtype, disease stage, and International Prognostic Index score. We interrogated covariates included in the statistical analysis plan and an extensive panel of biomarkers according to an expanded translational biomarker plan. Univariable and multivariable analyses indicated that rapid CAR T-cell expansion commensurate with pretreatment tumor burden (influenced by product T-cell fitness), the number of CD8 and CCR7+CD45RA+ T cells infused, and host systemic inflammation, were the most significant determining factors for durable response. Key parameters differentially associated with clinical efficacy and toxicities, with both theoretical and practical implications for optimizing CAR T-cell therapy. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT02348216.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2020002394DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7556133PMC
October 2020

High metabolic tumor volume is associated with decreased efficacy of axicabtagene ciloleucel in large B-cell lymphoma.

Blood Adv 2020 07;4(14):3268-3276

Department of Blood and Marrow Transplant and Cellular Immunotherapy, and.

High metabolic tumor volume (MTV) predicts worse outcomes in lymphoma treated with chemotherapy. However, it is unknown if this holds for patients treated with axicabtagene ciloleucel (axi-cel), an anti-CD19 targeted chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy. The primary objective of this retrospective study was to investigate the relationship between MTV and survival (overall survival [OS] and progression-free survival [PFS]) in patients with relapsed/refractory large B-cell lymphoma (LBCL) treated with axi-cel. Secondary objectives included finding the association of MTV with response rates and toxicity. The MTV values on baseline positron emission tomography of 96 patients were calculated via manual methodology using commercial software. Based on a median MTV cutoff value of 147.5 mL in the first cohort (n = 48), patients were divided into high and low MTV groups. Median follow-up for survivors was 24.98 months (range, 10.59-51.02 months). Patients with low MTV had significantly superior OS (hazard ratio [HR], 0.25; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.10-0.66) and PFS (HR, 0.40; 95% CI, 0.18-0.89). Results were successfully validated in a second cohort of 48 patients with a median follow-up for survivors of 12.03 months (range, 0.89-25.74 months). Patients with low MTV were found to have superior OS (HR, 0.14; 95% CI, 0.05-0.42) and PFS (HR, 0.29; 95% CI, 0.12-0.69). In conclusion, baseline MTV is associated with OS and PFS in axi-cel recipients with LBCL.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2020001900DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7391155PMC
July 2020

Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cell Therapy Delivers Response in Lymphoma Progressing after Allogeneic Transplantation, but is the Sequence Optimal?

Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 2020 09 16;26(9):e211-e212. Epub 2020 Jul 16.

Moffitt Immunology Program, Department of Blood and Marrow Transplant and Cellular Immunotherapy, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, Florida. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbmt.2020.07.009DOI Listing
September 2020

Tumor Microenvironment Composition and Severe Cytokine Release Syndrome (CRS) Influence Toxicity in Patients with Large B-Cell Lymphoma Treated with Axicabtagene Ciloleucel.

Clin Cancer Res 2020 Sep 15;26(18):4823-4831. Epub 2020 Jul 15.

Department of Blood and Marrow Transplantation and Cellular Immunotherapy, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Tampa, Florida.

Purpose: One of the challenges of adoptive T-cell therapy is the development of immune-mediated toxicities including cytokine release syndrome (CRS) and neurotoxicity (NT). We aimed to identify factors that place patients at high risk of severe toxicity or treatment-related death in a cohort of 75 patients with large B-cell lymphoma treated with a standard of care CD19 targeted CAR T-cell product (axicabtagene ciloleucel).

Experimental Design: Serum cytokine and catecholamine levels were measured prior to lymphodepleting chemotherapy, on the day of CAR T infusion and daily thereafter while patients remained hospitalized. Tumor biopsies were taken within 1 month prior to CAR T infusion for evaluation of gene expression.

Results: We identified an association between pretreatment levels of IL6 and life-threatening CRS and NT. Because the risk of toxicity was related to pretreatment factors, we hypothesized that the tumor microenvironment (TME) may influence CAR T-cell toxicity. In pretreatment patient tumor biopsies, gene expression of myeloid markers was associated with higher toxicity.

Conclusions: These results suggest that a proinflammatory state and an unfavorable TME preemptively put patients at risk for toxicity after CAR T-cell therapy. Tailoring toxicity management strategies to patient risk may reduce morbidity and mortality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-20-1434DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7501265PMC
September 2020

Comparing Efficacy, Safety, and Preinfusion Period of Axicabtagene Ciloleucel versus Tisagenlecleucel in Relapsed/Refractory Large B Cell Lymphoma.

Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 2020 09 17;26(9):1581-1588. Epub 2020 Jun 17.

Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, Florida.

Axicabtagene ciloleucel (axi-cel) and tisagenlecleucel (tisa-cel) are autologous anti-CD19 chimeric antigen receptor T (CAR T) cell therapies for the treatment of patients with relapsed/refractory large B cell lymphoma (RR-LBCL). Both can induce durable responses; however, cross-trial comparisons are difficult due to differences in study design. In this study, the registration trials of axi-cel and tisa-cel were compared using a matching adjusted indirect comparison (MAIC). A MAIC was performed to adjust for differences in patient characteristics between trials. The estimates for the ZUMA-1 (axi-cel) trial were adjusted using patient-level data to match the study population in JULIET (tisa-cel) for key variables: International Prognostic Index), Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group score, stage, refractoriness or relapsed disease, double/triple hit status, cell of origin, and number of prior lines of therapy. The endpoints analyzed were response, overall survival (OS), and adverse events. After adjusting for differences in patient characteristics between trials, axi-cel was associated with a greater objective response rate (relative risk [RR]=1.61; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.29 to 2.01) and complete response (RR = 1.62; 95% CI, 1.16 to 2.27) than tisa-cel among patients who underwent infusion. The OS from infusion onward comparing axi-cel to tisa-cel had a hazard ratio of 0.51 (95% CI, 0.31 to 0.83). The indirect comparison showed a higher rate of grade 1 to 2 cytokine release syndrome (CRS) in ZUMA-1 compared with JULIET (RR = 2.03; 95% CI, 1.55 to 2.65) and similar rates of grade ≥3 CRS and neurologic events. In the absence of a direct head-to-head study, the MAIC statistical technique suggests axi-cel may have superior efficacy but a greater risk of grade 1 to 2 CRS. Future real-world studies can further inform the relative efficacy and safety of CAR T therapies in RR-LBCL.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbmt.2020.06.008DOI Listing
September 2020

A multicenter phase 1 study of nivolumab for relapsed hematologic malignancies after allogeneic transplantation.

Blood 2020 06;135(24):2182-2191

Department of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.

Programmed cell death-1 (PD-1)/programmed death ligand-1 blockade may potentially augment graft-vs-tumor effects following allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (alloHCT), but retrospective studies of anti-PD-1 therapy reported substantial toxicity from graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD). Here, we report the results of a prospective clinical trial of PD-1 blockade for relapsed hematologic malignancies (HMs) after alloHCT (NCT01822509). The primary objective in this phase 1 multicenter, investigator-initiated study was to determine maximum tolerated dose and safety. Secondary objectives were to assess efficacy and immunologic activity. Patients with relapsed HMs following alloHCT were eligible. Nivolumab was administered every 2 weeks until progression or unacceptable toxicity, starting with a 1-mg/kg cohort, with planned deescalation based on toxicity to a 0.5-mg/kg cohort. Twenty-eight patients were treated (n = 19 myeloid, n = 9 lymphoid). Median age was 57 years (range 27-76), and median time from alloHCT to enrollment was 21 months (range 5.6-108.5). Two of 6 patients treated at 1 mg/kg experienced dose-limiting toxicity (DLT) from immune-related adverse events (irAEs). Twenty-two patients were treated at 0.5 mg/kg, and 4 DLTs occurred, including 2 irAEs and 2 with fatal GVHD. The overall response rate in efficacy-evaluable patients was 32% (8/25). With a median follow-up of 11 months, the 1-year progression-free survival and overall survival were 23% and 56%, respectively. In this first prospective clinical trial of an anti-PD-1 antibody for post-alloHCT relapse, GVHD and irAEs occurred, requiring dose deescalation, with only modest antitumor activity. Further studies of anti-PD-1 therapy post-alloHCT may require specific toxicity mitigation strategies. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT01822509.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood.2019004710DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7290092PMC
June 2020

Standard-of-Care Axicabtagene Ciloleucel for Relapsed or Refractory Large B-Cell Lymphoma: Results From the US Lymphoma CAR T Consortium.

J Clin Oncol 2020 09 13;38(27):3119-3128. Epub 2020 May 13.

Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL.

Purpose: Axicabtagene ciloleucel (axi-cel) is an autologous CD19-directed chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy approved for relapsed/refractory large B-cell lymphoma (LBCL) on the basis of the single-arm phase II ZUMA-1 trial, which showed best overall and complete response rates in infused patients of 83% and 58%, respectively. We report clinical outcomes with axi-cel in the standard-of-care (SOC) setting for the approved indication.

Patients And Methods: Data were collected retrospectively from all patients with relapsed/refractory LBCL who underwent leukapheresis as of September 30, 2018, at 17 US institutions with the intent to receive SOC axi-cel. Toxicities were graded and managed according to each institution's guidelines. Responses were assessed as per Lugano 2014 classification.

Results: Of 298 patients who underwent leukapheresis, 275 (92%) received axi-cel therapy. Compared with the registrational ZUMA-1 trial, 129 patients (43%) in this SOC study would not have met ZUMA-1 eligibility criteria because of comorbidities at the time of leukapheresis. Among the axi-cel-treated patients, grade ≥ 3 cytokine release syndrome and neurotoxicity occurred in 7% and 31%, respectively. Nonrelapse mortality was 4.4%. Best overall and complete response rates in infused patients were 82% (95% CI, 77% to 86%) and 64% (95% CI, 58% to 69%), respectively. At a median follow-up of 12.9 months from the time of CAR T-cell infusion, median progression-free survival was 8.3 months (95% CI, 6.0 to15.1 months), and median overall survival was not reached. Patients with poor Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of 2-4 and elevated lactate dehydrogenase had shorter progression-free and overall survival on univariable and multivariable analysis.

Conclusion: The safety and efficacy of axi-cel in the SOC setting in patients with relapsed/refractory LBCL was comparable to the registrational ZUMA-1 trial.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.19.02104DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7499611PMC
September 2020

Sole Upfront Therapy with Beclomethasone and Budesonide for Upper Gastrointestinal Acute Graft-versus-Host Disease.

Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 2020 07 30;26(7):1303-1311. Epub 2020 Apr 30.

Department of Blood and Marrow Transplant and Cellular Immunotherapy, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, Florida; Department of Oncological Sciences, University of South Florida, Tampa Florida. Electronic address:

Systemic glucocorticoids remain the standard treatment for gastrointestinal (GI) acute graft-versus-host disease (aGVHD) despite their toxicity and incomplete efficacy. Controlled trials have tested poorly absorbable steroids as adjuncts with systemic glucocorticoids, but only small case series have reported treatment with poorly absorbed beclomethasone dipropionate (BDP) and budesonide (BUD) alone. Our team has adopted the practice of administering BDP or BDP+BUD without systemic glucocorticoids as first-line therapy for isolated upper GI (UGI) aGVHD. We report results in 76 patients treated with BDP alone and in 81 patients treated with BDP+BUD, with allocation by physician choice. Almost all patients received peripheral blood stem cells (92%) from a fully HLA-matched related or unrelated donor (80%) after myeloablative conditioning (76%) for acute leukemia (49%), myelodysplastic syndrome (17%), non-Hodgkin lymphoma (14%), or another hematopoietic disorders (20%). After 28 days of treatment with BDP, 46% of the patients had a complete response (CR) and 10% had a partial response (PR); after 200 days, 61 (80%) patients were alive, 34% maintained a CR, and 3% maintained a PR, whereas 53% required additional immunosuppression (IS). After 28 days of treatment with BDP+BUD, 67% had a CR and 10% a PR; after 200 days, 74 (91%) patients were alive, 46% maintained a CR, and 2% maintained a PR, whereas 43% required additional IS. Among the entire cohort of 157 patients, 66 (42%) were treated successfully without systemic glucocorticoids. This study reports the efficacy of poorly absorbable steroids alone for patients with isolated UGI aGVHD. Prospective trials should test for the potential advantages of BDP and BUD use over systemic glucocorticoids.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbmt.2020.04.023DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7771266PMC
July 2020

Immune reconstitution and associated infections following axicabtagene ciloleucel in relapsed or refractory large B-cell lymphoma.

Haematologica 2021 Apr 1;106(4):978-986. Epub 2021 Apr 1.

Dept. of Blood and Marrow Transplant and Cellular Immunotherapy, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, USA.

CD19 CAR T-cell therapy with axicabtagene ciloleucel (axi-cel) for relapsed or refractory (R/R) large B cell lymphoma (LBCL) may lead to durable remissions, however, prolonged cytopenias and infections may occur. In this single center retrospective study of 85 patients, we characterized immune reconstitution and infections for patients remaining in remission after axi-cel for LBCL. Prolonged cytopenias (those occurring at or after day 30 following infusion) were common with >= grade 3 neutropenia seen in 21/70 (30-0%) patients at day 30 and persisting in 3/31 (9-7%) patients at 1 year. B cells were undetectable in 30/34 (88-2%) patients at day 30, but were detected in 11/19 (57-9%) at 1 year. Median IgG levels reached a nadir at day 180. By contrast, CD4 T cells decreased from baseline and were persistently low with a median CD4 count of 155 cells/μl at 1 year after axi-cel (n=19, range 33 - 269). In total, 23/85 (27-1%) patients received IVIG after axi-cel, and 34/85 (40-0%) received G-CSF. Infections in the first 30 days occurred in 31/85 (36-5%) patients, of which 11/85 (12-9%) required intravenous antibiotics or hospitalization ("severe") and were associated with cytokine release syndrome (CRS), neurotoxicity, tocilizumab use, corticosteroid use, and bridging therapy on univariate analyses. After day 30, 7 severe infections occurred, with no late deaths due to infection. Prolonged cytopenias are common following axi-cel therapy for LBCL and typically recover with time. Most patients experience profound and prolonged CD4 T cell immunosuppression without severe infection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3324/haematol.2019.238634DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8017820PMC
April 2021

Grading and management of cytokine release syndrome in patients treated with tisagenlecleucel in the JULIET trial.

Blood Adv 2020 04;4(7):1432-1439

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA.

Chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapy yields durable responses in patients with relapsed/refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (r/r DLBCL). Cytokine release syndrome (CRS) is a CAR-T therapy-related adverse event. To date, clinical trials of different CAR-T products have not been aligned on CRS grading scales and management algorithms. We assessed concordance between the Penn, Lee, and American Society for Transplantation and Cellular Therapy (ASTCT) grading systems by retrospectively regrading CRS events in the JULIET (A Phase 2, Single Arm, Multicenter Trial to Determine the Efficacy and Safety of CTL019 in Adult Patients With Relapsed or Refractory DLBCL) trial. Four medical experts with experience treating patients with 3 different CAR-T products independently regraded individual patient-level CRS events from the phase 2, global, pivotal JULIET trial (#NCT02445248). As of 8 December 2017, a total of 111 patients with r/r DLBCL underwent infusion with tisagenlecleucel. Sixty-four patients had CRS events graded per the Penn scale; on retrospective review, 63 and 61 patients had CRS events regraded per the Lee and ASTCT criteria, respectively. The Lee scale yielded concordance for 39, lower grade for 20, and higher grade for 5 events compared with the Penn scale. The ASTCT criteria provided concordance for 37, lower grade for 23, and higher grade for 4 events compared with the Penn scale. Sixteen (14%) of 111 patients in the JULIET trial received tocilizumab, all for severe events (Penn grade 3/4 CRS). This study is the first to assess concordance between 3 CRS grading scales using the same patient data set and to compare tocilizumab use according to the Lee scale in the JULIET trial and the ZUMA-1 (Long-Term Safety and Activity of Axicabtagene Ciloleucel in Refractory Large B-Cell Lymphoma) trial. This analysis describes key differences between grading scales and may inform CRS management practices.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2019001304DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7160283PMC
April 2020

Grading of neurological toxicity in patients treated with tisagenlecleucel in the JULIET trial.

Blood Adv 2020 04;4(7):1440-1447

Department of Blood and Marrow Transplant and Cellular Immunotherapy, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL.

Chimeric antigen receptor-T (CAR-T) cell therapy achieves durable responses in patients with relapsed/refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (r/r DLBCL), but may be associated with neurological toxicity (NT). We retrospectively assessed differences and concordance among 3 available grading scales (the National Cancer Institute Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events v4.03 [CTCAE], modified CAR-T Related Encephalopathy Syndrome [mCRES], and American Society for Transplantation and Cellular Therapy [ASTCT] scales) applied to the same set of NT data from the JULIET (A Phase 2, Single Arm, Multicenter Trial to Determine the Efficacy and Safety of CTL019 in Adult Patients With Relapsed or Refractory DLBCL) trial. Individual patient-level NT data from the phase 2, single-group, global, pivotal JULIET trial (NCT02445248) were retrospectively and independently graded, using CTCAE, ASTCT, and mCRES, by 4 medical experts with experience managing patients with 3 different CD19-targeted CAR constructs. According to the US Food and Drug Administration definition of NT using CTCAE, 62 of 106 patients infused with tisagenlecleucel had NT as of September 2017. Among 111 patients infused with tisagenlecleucel (as of December 2017), the 4 experts identified 50 patients (45%) who had any-grade NT per CTCAE, 19 (17%) per mCRES, and 19 (17%) per ASTCT. Reevaluation according to the mCRES/ASTCT criteria downgraded 31 events deemed NT by CTCAE to grade 0. This is the first study to retrospectively apply CTCAE, mCRES, and ASTCT criteria to the same patient data set. We conclude that CTCAE v4.03 was not designed for, and is suboptimal for, grading CAR-T cell therapy-associated NT. The CRES and ASTCT scales, which measure immune effector cell-associated neurotoxicity syndrome, offer more accurate assessments of NT after CAR-T cell therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2019001305DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7160265PMC
April 2020

KTE-X19 CAR T-Cell Therapy in Relapsed or Refractory Mantle-Cell Lymphoma.

N Engl J Med 2020 04;382(14):1331-1342

From the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston (M.W.), and Texas Oncology, Dallas (H.H.); Banner M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Gilbert, AZ (J.M.); John Theurer Cancer Center, Hackensack, NJ (A.G.); Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa (F.L.L.), and the University of Miami, Miami (A.B.) - both in Florida; Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston (C.A.J.); Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland (B.T.H.), and the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, Columbus (S.J.); David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles (J.M.T.), Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford (D.B.M.), and Kite, a Gilead company, Santa Monica (W.P., L.Z., J.M.R., R.K.J., A.V.R.) - all in California; Sarah Cannon Research Institute-Tennessee Oncology, Nashville (I.W.F.); Colorado Blood Cancer Institute, Denver (P.A.M.); Swedish Cancer Institute, Seattle (J.M.P.); the Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, for the Lunenburg Lymphoma Phase I/II Consortium (M.-J.K.); Centre Hospitalier Universitaire (CHU) Bordeaux, Service d'Hematologie et Therapie Cellulaire, Bordeaux (N.M.), and CHU Rennes, INSERM French Blood Establishment, Rennes (R.H.) - both in France; Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia (H.F.); Universitätsklinikum Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany (M.S.T.); and the University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY (P.M.R.).

Background: Patients with relapsed or refractory mantle-cell lymphoma who have disease progression during or after the receipt of Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor therapy have a poor prognosis. KTE-X19, an anti-CD19 chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy, may have benefit in patients with relapsed or refractory mantle-cell lymphoma.

Methods: In a multicenter, phase 2 trial, we evaluated KTE-X19 in patients with relapsed or refractory mantle-cell lymphoma. Patients had disease that had relapsed or was refractory after the receipt of up to five previous therapies; all patients had to have received BTK inhibitor therapy previously. Patients underwent leukapheresis and optional bridging therapy, followed by conditioning chemotherapy and a single infusion of KTE-X19 at a dose of 2×10 CAR T cells per kilogram of body weight. The primary end point was the percentage of patients with an objective response (complete or partial response) as assessed by an independent radiologic review committee according to the Lugano classification. Per the protocol, the primary efficacy analysis was to be conducted after 60 patients had been treated and followed for 7 months.

Results: A total of 74 patients were enrolled. KTE-X19 was manufactured for 71 patients and administered to 68. The primary efficacy analysis showed that 93% (95% confidence interval [CI], 84 to 98) of the 60 patients in the primary efficacy analysis had an objective response; 67% (95% CI, 53 to 78) had a complete response. In an intention-to-treat analysis involving all 74 patients, 85% had an objective response; 59% had a complete response. At a median follow-up of 12.3 months (range, 7.0 to 32.3), 57% of the 60 patients in the primary efficacy analysis were in remission. At 12 months, the estimated progression-free survival and overall survival were 61% and 83%, respectively. Common adverse events of grade 3 or higher were cytopenias (in 94% of the patients) and infections (in 32%). Grade 3 or higher cytokine release syndrome and neurologic events occurred in 15% and 31% of patients, respectively; none were fatal. Two grade 5 infectious adverse events occurred.

Conclusions: KTE-X19 induced durable remissions in a majority of patients with relapsed or refractory mantle-cell lymphoma. The therapy led to serious and life-threatening toxic effects that were consistent with those reported with other CAR T-cell therapies. (Funded by Kite, a Gilead company; ZUMA-2 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02601313.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa1914347DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7731441PMC
April 2020

Cardiovascular Events Among Adults Treated With Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-Cells (CAR-T).

J Am Coll Cardiol 2019 12;74(25):3099-3108

Cardiovascular Imaging Research Center (CIRC), Department of Radiology and Division of Cardiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts; Cardio-Oncology Program, Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts. Electronic address:

Background: Chimeric antigen receptors redirect T cells (CAR-T) to target cancer cells. There are limited data characterizing cardiac toxicity and cardiovascular (CV) events among adults treated with CAR-T.

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the possible cardiac toxicities of CAR-T.

Methods: The registry included 137 patients who received CAR-T. Covariates included the occurrence and grade of cytokine release syndrome (CRS) and the administration of tocilizumab for CRS. Cardiac toxicity was defined as a decrease in the left ventricular ejection fraction or an increase in serum troponin. Cardiovascular events were a composite of arrhythmias, decompensated heart failure, and CV death.

Results: The median age was 62 years (interquartile range [IQR]: 54 to 70 years), 67% were male, 88% had lymphoma, and 8% had myeloma. Approximately 50% were treated with commercial CAR-T (Yescarta or Kymriah), and the remainder received noncommercial products. CRS, occurring a median of 5 days (IQR: 2 to 7 days) after CAR-T, occurred in 59%, and 39% were grade ≥2. Tocilizumab was administered to 56 patients (41%) with CRS, at a median of 27 h (IQR: 16 to 48 h) after onset. An elevated troponin occurred in 29 of 53 tested patients (54%), and a decreased left ventricular ejection fraction in 8 of 29 (28%); each occurred only in patients with grade ≥2 CRS. There were 17 CV events (12%, 6 CV deaths, 6 decompensated heart failure, and 5 arrhythmias; median time to event of 21 days), all occurred with grade ≥2 CRS (31% patients with grade ≥2 CRS), and 95% of events occurred after an elevated troponin. The duration between CRS onset and tocilizumab administration was associated with CV events, where the risk increased 1.7-fold with each 12-h delay to tocilizumab.

Conclusions: Among adults, cardiac injury and CV events are common post-CAR-T. There was a graded relationship among CRS, elevated troponin, and CV events, and a shorter time from CRS onset to tocilizumab was associated with a lower rate of CV events.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2019.10.038DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6938409PMC
December 2019

Development and Use of the Anti-CD19 Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-Cell Therapy Axicabtagene Ciloleucel in Large B-Cell Lymphoma: A Review.

JAMA Oncol 2020 02;6(2):281-290

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas.

Importance: Axicabtagene ciloleucel, an anti-CD19-CD28-CD3ζ chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy, was the first US Food and Drug Administration-approved, genetically engineered T-cell therapy for adults with relapsed or refractory large B-cell lymphoma (LBCL) after 2 or more lines of systemic therapy. There has not been a US Food and Drug Administration-approved product for these cancers in more than 4 decades.

Observations: Unlike traditional anticancer therapies, axicabtagene ciloleucel is a patient-specific, live-cell product that has unique requirements for manufacturing, shipping, and storage, as well as for its administration and management of its adverse events. In addition, axicabtagene ciloleucel has demonstrated efficacy in patients with refractory LBCL. This review presents a timeline of the rapid clinical development of axicabtagene ciloleucel from bench to bedside, highlights how axicabtagene ciloleucel satisfies an unmet medical need for treatment of refractory LBCL, outlines the logistics of the production process and administration of axicabtagene ciloleucel, describes its mechanism of action, and summarizes the results of the pivotal study. This review also provides a survey of adverse events, with attention to the kinetics of their clinical presentation; discusses the management of adverse events; and offers suggestions for appropriate patient selection for safe administration of axicabtagene ciloleucel.

Conclusions And Relevance: The integration of axicabtagene ciloleucel therapy into standard-of-care practice for relapsed/refractory LBCL is the beginning of a paradigm shift in the treatment of patients with LBCL and is likely to lead to improvements in their survival and curability. Timely referral to centers offering the therapy is necessary for optimal patient outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamaoncol.2019.3869DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7859915PMC
February 2020

Haemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis has variable time to onset following CD19 chimeric antigen receptor T cell therapy.

Br J Haematol 2019 10 13;187(2):e35-e38. Epub 2019 Aug 13.

Department of Blood & Marrow Transplant and Cellular Immunotherapy, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjh.16155DOI Listing
October 2019