Publications by authors named "Stephen J Schuster"

160 Publications

Long-term clinical outcomes of tisagenlecleucel in patients with relapsed or refractory aggressive B-cell lymphomas (JULIET): a multicentre, open-label, single-arm, phase 2 study.

Lancet Oncol 2021 Oct 10;22(10):1403-1415. Epub 2021 Sep 10.

Center for Hematologic Malignancies, Oregon Health and Science University Knight Cancer Institute, Portland, OR, USA.

Background: In the primary analysis of the pivotal JULIET trial of tisagenlecleucel, an autologous anti-CD19 chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy, the best overall response rate was 52% and the complete response rate was 40% in 93 evaluable adult patients with relapsed or refractory aggressive B-cell lymphomas. We aimed to do a long-term follow-up analysis of the clinical outcomes and correlative analyses of activity and safety in the full adult cohort.

Methods: In this multicentre, open-label, single-arm, phase 2 trial (JULIET) done at 27 treatment sites in ten countries (Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, and the USA), adult patients (≥18 years) with histologically confirmed relapsed or refractory large B-cell lymphomas who were ineligible for, did not consent to, or had disease progression after autologous haematopoietic stem-cell transplantation, with an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of 0-1 at screening, were enrolled. Patients received a single intravenous infusion of tisagenlecleucel (target dose 5 × 10 viable transduced CAR T cells). The primary endpoint was overall response rate (ie, the proportion of patients with a best overall disease response of a complete response or partial response using the Lugano classification, as assessed by an independent review committee) at any time post-infusion and was analysed in all patients who received tisagenlecleucel (the full analysis set). Safety was analysed in all patients who received tisagenlecleucel. JULIET is registered with ClinialTrials.gov, NCT02445248, and is ongoing.

Findings: Between July 29, 2015, and Nov 2, 2017, 167 patients were enrolled. As of Feb 20, 2020, 115 patients had received tisagenlecleucel infusion and were included in the full analysis set. At a median follow-up of 40·3 months (IQR 37·8-43·8), the overall response rate was 53·0% (95% CI 43·5-62·4; 61 of 115 patients), with 45 (39%) patients having a complete response as their best overall response. The most common grade 3-4 adverse events were anaemia (45 [39%]), decreased neutrophil count (39 [34%]), decreased white blood cell count (37 [32%]), decreased platelet count (32 [28%]), cytokine release syndrome (26 [23%]), neutropenia (23 [20%]), febrile neutropenia (19 [17%]), hypophosphataemia (15 [13%]), and thrombocytopenia (14 [12%]). The most common treatment-related serious adverse events were cytokine release syndrome (31 [27%]), febrile neutropenia (seven [6%]), pyrexia (six [5%]), pancytopenia (three [3%]), and pneumonia (three [3%]). No treatment-related deaths were reported.

Interpretation: Tisagenlecleucel shows durable activity and manageable safety profiles in adult patients with relapsed or refractory aggressive B-cell lymphomas. For patients with large B-cell lymphomas that are refractory to chemoimmunotherapy or relapsing after second-line therapies, tisagenlecleucel compares favourably with respect to risk-benefit relative to conventional therapeutic approaches (eg, salvage chemotherapy).

Funding: Novartis Pharmaceuticals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(21)00375-2DOI Listing
October 2021

Pembrolizumab for B-cell lymphomas relapsing after or refractory to CD19-directed CAR T-cell therapy.

Blood 2021 Sep 9. Epub 2021 Sep 9.

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States.

CD19-directed chimeric antigen receptor-modified T cells (CAR T cells) achieve durable remissions in about 30-40% of relapsed/refractory large B-cell lymphomas. T cell exhaustion and/or an immunosuppressive tumor-microenvironment may contribute to CAR T-cell failure. Pembrolizumab, an anti-PD1 immune checkpoint inhibitor, may reverse T-cell exhaustion following CAR T-cell therapy. We treated 12 patients with B-cell lymphomas who were either refractory to (N=9) or relapsed after (N=3) CD19-directed CAR T cell (4-1BB-costimulated) therapy with pembrolizumab 200mg IV every 3 weeks. Median time from CAR T-cell infusion to first pembrolizumab dose was 3.3 months (range: 0.4-42.8 months). Pembrolizumab was well-tolerated and the only ≥ grade 3 adverse events related to pembrolizumab were neutropenia (N=3; 25%). Best overall response rate after pembrolizumab was 3/12 (25%) [1 complete response; 2 partial responses]. One (8%) patient had stable disease, thus, 4/12 (33%) patients had clinical benefit. After pembrolizumab, 4 patients with clinical benefit had increase in percentage of CAR T cells by mass cytometry (CyTOF); 3 of 4 of these patients also had increases in CAR19 transgene levels by qPCR. Deep immune profiling using mass cytometry revealed increased CAR T cell activation and proliferation and less T-cell exhaustion in clinical responders. Together, PD1 blockade with pembrolizumab after CD19-directed CAR T-cell therapy appears safe and may achieve clinical responses in some patients with B-cell lymphomas refractory to or relapsed after CAR T-cell therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood.2021012634DOI Listing
September 2021

Tisagenlecleucel Immunogenicity in Relapsed/Refractory Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma.

Blood Adv 2021 Aug 25. Epub 2021 Aug 25.

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States.

Tisagenlecleucel is indicated for pediatric and young adult patients with relapsed/refractory (r/r) B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) and adult patients with r/r diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). The tisagenlecleucel chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) contains a murine single-chain variable fragment domain; hence, we examined the effects of humoral and cellular immune responses to tisagenlecleucel on clinical outcomes using 2 validated assays. Data were pooled from ELIANA (NCT02435849) and ENSIGN (NCT02228096) trials in r/r B-ALL (N=143) and the JULIET trial (NCT02445248) in r/r DLBCL (N=115). Humoral responses were determined by flow cytometric measurement of anti-murine CAR19 (mCAR19) antibodies in serum. Cellular responses were determined using T-cell production of interferon gamma in response to 2 different pools of mCAR19 peptides. Pretreatment anti-mCAR19 antibodies were detected in 81% of patients with r/r B-ALL and 94% of patients with r/r DLBCL. Posttreatment anti-mCAR19 antibodies were higher than patient-specific baseline in 42% of r/r B-ALL and 9% of r/r DLBCL patients. Pretreatment and posttreatment anti-mCAR19 antibodies did not affect tisagenlecleucel cellular kinetics including Cmax and persistence (r2<0.05), clinical response (day 28 response, duration of response, event-free survival), or safety. T-cell responses were consistent over time, with net responses <1% at baseline and posttreatment time points in the majority of patients with no effect on transgene expansion and persistence or outcomes. Presence of baseline and/or posttreatment anti-mCAR19 antibodies or T-cell responses did not alter the activity of tisagenlecleucel in patients with r/r B-ALL or r/r DLBCL.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2020003844DOI Listing
August 2021

Efficacy and safety of CD19-directed CAR-T cell therapies in patients with relapsed/refractory aggressive B-cell lymphomas: Observations from the JULIET, ZUMA-1, and TRANSCEND trials.

Am J Hematol 2021 10 13;96(10):1295-1312. Epub 2021 Aug 13.

Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA.

Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cell therapies have improved the outcome for many patients with relapsed or refractory aggressive B-cell lymphomas. In 2017, axicabtagene ciloleucel and soon after tisagenlecleucel became the first approved CAR-T cell products for patients with high-grade B-cell lymphomas or diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) who are relapsed or refractory to ≥ 2 prior lines of therapy; lisocabtagene maraleucel was approved in 2021. Safety and efficacy outcomes from the pivotal trials of each CAR-T cell therapy have been reported. Despite addressing a common unmet need in the large B-cell lymphoma population and utilizing similar CAR technologies, there are differences between CAR-T cell products in manufacturing, pivotal clinical trial designs, and data reporting. Early reports of commercial use of axicabtagene ciloleucel and tisagenlecleucel provide the first opportunities to validate the impact of patient characteristics on the efficacy and safety of these CAR-T cell therapies in the real world. Going forward, caring for patients after CAR-T cell therapy will require strategies to monitor patients for sustained responses and potential long-term side effects. In this review, product attributes, protocol designs, and clinical outcomes of the key clinical trials are presented. We discuss recent data on patient characteristics, efficacy, and safety of patients treated with axicabtagene ciloleucel or tisagenlecleucel in the real world. Finally, we discuss postinfusion management and preview upcoming clinical trials of CAR-T cell therapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajh.26301DOI Listing
October 2021

Bispecific antibodies for the treatment of lymphomas: Promises and challenges.

Hematol Oncol 2021 Jun;39 Suppl 1:113-116

Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennyslvania, USA.

The potential of bispecific antibodies to direct antigen-specific T cell-mediated cytotoxicity toward malignant cells bearing a target antigen was recognized over 35 years ago. Generally, this is accomplished by combining a T-cell receptor-specific monoclonal antibody or monoclonal antibody-derived fragment that is capable of activating and expanding resting T cells with a second monoclonal antibody or monoclonal antibody fragment directed against a tumor target antigen. Bispecific antibodies induce effector T cells that bind to tumor cells independently of their T-cell receptor specificity and without the requirement of MHC-mediated antigen presentation, focusing effector T-cell cytotoxicity on tumor cells bearing the target antigen. The therapeutic efficacy of this approach for treatment of relapsed or refractory B-cell lymphomas was first demonstrated with blinatumomab, a single molecule comprised of two linked single-chain variable fragments with binding specificities for CD19 and CD3. The recent demonstration that chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) modified T cells can achieve very durable remissions in some patients with relapsed or refractory B-cell lymphomas, as well as the potential efficacy of bispecific antibodies in CAR T cell failures, has rekindled interested in bispecific antibodies as a T cell-mediated therapeutic approach. We review the early results of phase 1 clinical trials of bispecific antibodies targeting CD20 on B cells and engaging T cells via CD3 in 1:1 or 2:1 CD20:CD3 Fab formats for treatment of relapsed or refractory B-cell lymphomas.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hon.2858DOI Listing
June 2021

Pirtobrutinib in relapsed or refractory B-cell malignancies (BRUIN): a phase 1/2 study.

Lancet 2021 Mar;397(10277):892-901

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA.

Background: Covalent Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitors are efficacious in multiple B-cell malignancies, but patients discontinue these agents due to resistance and intolerance. We evaluated the safety and efficacy of pirtobrutinib (working name; formerly known as LOXO-305), a highly selective, reversible BTK inhibitor, in these patients.

Methods: Patients with previously treated B-cell malignancies were enrolled in a first-in-human, multicentre, open-label, phase 1/2 trial of the BTK inhibitor pirtobrutinib. The primary endpoint was the maximum tolerated dose (phase 1) and overall response rate (ORR; phase 2). This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT03740529.

Findings: 323 patients were treated with pirtobrutinib across seven dose levels (25 mg, 50 mg, 100 mg, 150 mg, 200 mg, 250 mg, and 300 mg once per day) with linear dose-proportional exposures. No dose-limiting toxicities were observed and the maximum tolerated dose was not reached. The recommended phase 2 dose was 200 mg daily. Adverse events in at least 10% of 323 patients were fatigue (65 [20%]), diarrhoea (55 [17%]), and contusion (42 [13%]). The most common adverse event of grade 3 or higher was neutropenia (32 [10%]). There was no correlation between pirtobrutinib exposure and the frequency of grade 3 treatment-related adverse events. Grade 3 atrial fibrillation or flutter was not observed, and grade 3 haemorrhage was observed in one patient in the setting of mechanical trauma. Five (1%) patients discontinued treatment due to a treatment-related adverse event. In 121 efficacy evaluable patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) or small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL) treated with a previous covalent BTK inhibitor (median previous lines of treatment 4), the ORR with pirtobrutinib was 62% (95% CI 53-71). The ORR was similar in CLL patients with previous covalent BTK inhibitor resistance (53 [67%] of 79), covalent BTK inhibitor intolerance (22 [52%] of 42), BTK C481-mutant (17 [71%] of 24) and BTK wild-type (43 [66%] of 65) disease. In 52 efficacy evaluable patients with mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) previously treated with covalent BTK inhibitors, the ORR was 52% (95% CI 38-66). Of 117 patients with CLL, SLL, or MCL who responded, all but eight remain progression-free to date.

Interpretation: Pirtobrutinib was safe and active in multiple B-cell malignancies, including patients previously treated with covalent BTK inhibitors. Pirtobrutinib might address a growing unmet need for alternative therapies for these patients.

Funding: Loxo Oncology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(21)00224-5DOI Listing
March 2021

Ublituximab plus ibrutinib versus ibrutinib alone for patients with relapsed or refractory high-risk chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (GENUINE): a phase 3, multicentre, open-label, randomised trial.

Lancet Haematol 2021 Apr 22;8(4):e254-e266. Epub 2021 Feb 22.

Sarah Cannon Research Institute, Nashville, TN, USA.

Background: Patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and high-risk features have poorer outcomes on ibrutinib than those without high-risk features. The aim of this study was to assess the benefit of adding ublituximab, an anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody, to ibrutinib therapy in this population.

Methods: We did a randomised, phase 3, multicentre study (GENUINE) of patients aged 18 years or older with relapsed or refractory chronic lymphocytic leukaemia with at least one of 17p deletion, 11q deletion, or TP53 mutation, at 119 clinics in the USA and Israel. Eligible patients had received at least one previous chronic lymphocytic leukaemia therapy and had an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of 2 or lower. We randomised patients (1:1) using permuted block randomisation with a block size of four and stratified by previous lines of therapy (one vs two or more) to receive ibrutinib alone or ibrutinib in combination with ublituximab. Treatment allocation was not masked to patients or investigators. Ibrutinib was given orally daily at 420 mg for all cycles. Ublituximab was given intravenously in 28-day cycles, with increasing doses during cycle 1 (≤150 mg on day 1, 750 mg on day 2, and 900 mg on days 8 and 15) and continuing at 900 mg on day 1 of cycles 2-6. After cycle 6, ublituximab was given at 900 mg every three cycles. The study was initially designed with co-primary endpoints of progression-free survival and overall response rate but due to protracted patient accrual, the protocol was amended to have a single primary endpoint of independent review committee-assessed overall response rate (defined as the proportion of patients who had a partial response, complete response, or complete response with incomplete marrow recovery according to the 2008 International Workshop on CLL criteria) in the intention-to-treat population. Safety was evaluated in the population of patients who received at least one dose of study treatment. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02301156, and the final analysis is presented.

Findings: 224 patients were assessed for eligibility, of whom 126 patients were enrolled and randomly assigned to receive ublituximab plus ibrutinib (n=64) or ibrutinib alone (n=62) between Feb 6, 2015, and Dec 19, 2016. After a median follow-up of 41·6 months (IQR 36·7-47·3), the overall response rate was 53 (83%) of 64 patients in the ublituximab plus ibrutinib group and 40 (65%) of 62 patients in the ibrutinib group (p=0·020). 117 patients, including 59 in the ublituximab plus ibrutinib group and 58 in the ibrutinib group, received at least one dose of treatment and were included in safety analyses. Most adverse events were grade 1 or 2. The most common grade 3 and 4 adverse events were neutropenia (11 [19%] patients in the ublituximab plus ibrutinib group and seven [12%] in the ibrutinib group), anaemia (five [8%] and five [9%]), and diarrhoea (six [10%] and three [5%]). The most common serious adverse events were pneumonia (six [10%] in the ublituximab plus ibrutinib group and four [7%] in the ibrutinib group), atrial fibrillation (four [7%] and one [2%]), sepsis (four [7%] and one [2%]), and febrile neutropenia (three [5%] and one [2%]). Two patients in the ublituximab plus ibrutinib group died due to adverse events (one cardiac arrest and one failure to thrive), neither of which were treatment-related. Five patients in the ibrutinib group died due to adverse events, including one cardiac arrest, one cerebral infarction, one intracranial haemorrhage, one Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia infection, and one unexplained death; the death due to cardiac arrest was considered to be treatment-related.

Interpretation: The addition of ublituximab to ibrutinib resulted in a statistically higher overall response rate without affecting the safety profile of ibrutinib monotherapy in patients with relapsed or refractory high-risk chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. These findings provide support for the addition of ublituximab to Bruton tyrosine kinase inhibitors for the treatment of these patients.

Funding: TG Therapeutics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2352-3026(20)30433-6DOI Listing
April 2021

Five-Year Outcomes for Refractory B-Cell Lymphomas with CAR T-Cell Therapy.

N Engl J Med 2021 02;384(7):673-674

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMc2030164DOI Listing
February 2021

Brentuximab Vedotin for Relapsed or Refractory Sézary Syndrome.

JAMA Dermatol 2021 03;157(3):317-321

Department of Dermatology, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

Importance: Treatment options for Sézary syndrome (SS) are limited and associated with low response rates. Brentuximab vedotin is a CD30-directed antibody-drug conjugate approved for refractory CD30-positive cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. However, limited data exist on its efficacy in SS, including in the pivotal phase 3 ALCANZA (A Phase 3 Trial of Brentuximab Vedotin (SGN-35) Versus Physician's Choice [Methotrexate or Bexarotene] in Participants With CD30-Positive Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma) trial.

Objective: To assess the preliminary efficacy and tolerability of brentuximab vedotin for SS.

Design, Setting, And Participants: From January 1, 2017, to July 31, 2020, a total of 13 patients with SS received brentuximab vedotin and were analyzed as part of a retrospective case series. Median follow-up was 10.4 months (range, 1.4-34.6 months). All patients were 18 years or older with a diagnosis of SS and with B2 blood involvement at the time brentuximab vedotin therapy was initiated. This single-center study was conducted at a major academic referral center.

Interventions: Intravenous brentuximab vedotin administration approximately every 3 weeks.

Main Outcomes And Measures: The primary end point was the global response rate. Outcomes were assessed in the skin and lymph nodes per the 2011 European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer-International Society of Cutaneous Lymphoma response criteria and in the blood per the 2018 Prospective Cutaneous Lymphoma International Prognostic Index revised blood response criteria.

Results: The study included 13 patients (8 [62%] male; mean [SD] age, 68.2 [8.6] years). Of these 13 patients, 5 (38%) achieved a global response after a median of 6 cycles, including 1 complete response. Response rates by disease compartment were 38% in the skin, 63% in the blood, and 50% in the lymph nodes. Three of 11 patients (27%) with pruritus reported improvement. Skin CD30 positivity (>10%) was detected in 9 patients but was not associated with responses. Among responders, the median time to response was 6 weeks (range, 6-9 weeks), and the median duration of response was 5.5 months (range, 2.5-28.9 months). The median time to next treatment was 3.2 months (range, 1.5-36.7 months). Peripheral neuropathy occurred in 4 patients but resolved in 2 patients. Grade 2 adverse events were neuropathy (n = 2), constipation (n = 1), and hand-foot syndrome (n = 1).

Conclusions And Relevance: In this case series, brentuximab vedotin use was associated with some efficacy in SS across multiple disease compartments and in the setting of refractory disease or low CD30 skin expression. Brentuximab vedotin may offer a manageable treatment schedule and low incidence of significant toxic effects.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamadermatol.2020.4901DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7774044PMC
March 2021

Outcomes of patients with up to 6 years of follow-up from a phase 2 study of idelalisib for relapsed indolent lymphomas.

Leuk Lymphoma 2021 05 10;62(5):1077-1087. Epub 2020 Dec 10.

University of Washington/Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA, USA.

The phase 2 study of idelalisib monotherapy for indolent non-Hodgkin lymphomas (iNHLs) was completed in 2018; final efficacy and safety data with up to 6.7 years long-term follow-up are reported. Patients with iNHL refractory to both rituximab and an alkylating agent were enrolled and received 150 mg idelalisib twice daily ( = 125). Idelalisib resulted in an overall response rate of 57.6% with 34.4% continuing therapy for ≥12 months. The median progression-free survival and duration of response were 11.0 and 11.8 months for follicular lymphoma, 22.2 and 20.4 months for lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma/Waldenström's macroglobulinemia (LPL/WM), and 6.6 and 18.4 months for marginal zone lymphoma (MZL). Median overall survival after extended follow-up was 48.6 (95% CI 33.9, 71.7) months. Long-term follow-up did not reveal new safety concerns. These data indicate beneficial outcomes with longer follow-up after idelalisib for treatment of iNHL including in patients with LPL/WM and MZL.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10428194.2020.1855344DOI Listing
May 2021

Phase 2 study of the safety and efficacy of umbralisib in patients with CLL who are intolerant to BTK or PI3Kδ inhibitor therapy.

Blood 2021 May;137(20):2817-2826

Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC.

Intolerance is the most common reason for kinase inhibitor (KI) discontinuation in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Umbralisib, a novel highly selective phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase δ (PI3Kδ)/CK1ε inhibitor, is active and well tolerated in CLL patients. In this phase 2 trial (NCT02742090), umbralisib was initiated at 800 mg/d in CLL patients requiring therapy, who were intolerant to prior BTK inhibitor (BTKi) or PI3K inhibitor (PI3Ki) therapy, until progression or toxicity. Primary end point was progression-free survival (PFS). Secondary end points included time to treatment failure and safety. DNA was genotyped for CYP3A4, CYP3A5, and CYP2D6 polymorphisms. Fifty-one patients were enrolled (44 BTKi intolerant and 7 PI3Kδi intolerant); median age was 70 years (range, 48-96), with a median of 2 prior lines of therapy (range, 1-7), 24% had del17p and/or TP53 mutation, and 65% had unmutated IGHV. Most common adverse events (AEs) leading to prior KI discontinuation were rash (27%), arthralgia (18%), and atrial fibrillation (16%). Median PFS was 23.5 months (95% CI, 13.1-not estimable), with 58% of patients on umbralisib for a longer duration than prior KI. Most common (≥5%) grade ≥3 AEs on umbralisib (all causality) were neutropenia (18%), leukocytosis (14%), thrombocytopenia (12%), pneumonia (12%), and diarrhea (8%). Six patients (12%) discontinued umbralisib because of an AE. Eight patients (16%) had dose reductions and were successfully rechallenged. These are the first prospective data to confirm that switching from a BTKi or alternate PI3Ki to umbralisib in this BTKi- and PI3Ki-intolerant CLL population can result in durable well-tolerated responses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood.2020007376DOI Listing
May 2021

CAR-T TREK through the lymphoma universe, to boldly go where no other therapy has gone before.

Br J Haematol 2021 05 21;193(3):449-465. Epub 2020 Nov 21.

Center for Cellular Immunotherapies, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells (CART) therapies have changed and continue to change the treatment paradigms for B-cell malignancies because they can achieve durable complete remission in patients in whom multiple lines of treatment have failed. These unprecedented results have led to the widespread use of anti-CD19 CART therapy for patients with relapsed and refractory aggressive large B-cell lymphomas. While long-term follow-up data show that about one-third of patients achieve prolonged complete remission and are potentially cured, the majority of patients either do not respond to CD19 CART therapy or eventually relapse after CD19 CART therapy. These results are, on the one hand, driving intense research into identifying mechanisms of relapse and, on the other hand, inspiring the development of novel strategies to overcome resistance. This review summarizes current clinical outcomes of CART immunotherapy in B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas, describes the most up-to-date understanding of mechanisms of relapse and discusses novel strategies to address resistance to CART therapy. We are indeed at the beginning of a scientific trek to explore the mechanisms of resistance, seek out new, more effective treatment approaches based on these discoveries and to boldly go where no other therapy has gone before!
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjh.17191DOI Listing
May 2021

A Novel Approach for the Treatment of T Cell Malignancies: Targeting T Cell Receptor Vβ Families.

Vaccines (Basel) 2020 Oct 31;8(4). Epub 2020 Oct 31.

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.

Peripheral T cell lymphomas (PTCLs) are generally chemotherapy resistant and have a poor prognosis. The lack of targeted immunotherapeutic approaches for T cell malignancies results in part from potential risks associated with targeting broadly expressed T cell markers, namely T cell depletion and clinically significant immune compromise. The knowledge that the T cell receptor (TCR) β chain in human α/β TCRs are grouped into Vβ families that can each be targeted by a monoclonal antibody can therefore be exploited for therapeutic purposes. Here, we develop a flexible approach for targeting TCR Vβ families by engineering T cells to express a chimeric CD64 protein that acts as a high affinity immune receptor (IR). We found that CD64 IR-modified T cells can be redirected with precision to T cell targets expressing selected Vβ families by combining CD64 IR-modified T cells with a monoclonal antibody directed toward a specific TCR Vβ family in vitro and in vivo. These findings provide proof of concept that TCR Vβ-family-specific T cell lysis can be achieved using this novel combination cell-antibody platform and illuminates a path toward high precision targeting of T cell malignancies without substantial immune compromise.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/vaccines8040631DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7711665PMC
October 2020

NextGen CARs: the race is on.

Blood 2020 10;136(14):1570-1571

University of Pennsylvania.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood.2020007050DOI Listing
October 2020

Efficacy of bendamustine and rituximab in unfit patients with previously untreated chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Indirect comparison with ibrutinib in a real-world setting. A GIMEMA-ERIC and US study.

Cancer Med 2020 11 24;9(22):8468-8479. Epub 2020 Sep 24.

Hematology, Niguarda Cancer Center, ASST Grande Ospedale Metropolitano Niguarda, Milan, Italy.

Limited information is available on the efficacy of front-line bendamustine and rituximab (BR) in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) with reduced renal function or coexisting conditions. We therefore analyzed a cohort of real-world patients and performed a matched adjusted indirect comparison with a cohort of patients treated with ibrutinib. One hundred and fifty-seven patients with creatinine clearance (CrCl) <70 mL/min and/or CIRS score >6 were treated with BR. The median age was 72 years; 69% of patients had ≥2 comorbidities and the median CrCl was 59.8 mL/min. 17.6% of patients carried TP53 disruption. The median progression-free survival (PFS) was 45 months; TP53 disruption was associated with a shorter PFS (P = 0.05). The overall survival (OS) at 12, 24, and 36 months was 96.2%, 90.1%, and 79.5%, respectively. TP53 disruption was associated with an increased risk of death (P = 0.01). Data on 162 patients ≥65 years treated with ibrutinib were analyzed and compared with 165 patients ≥65 years treated with BR. Factors predicting for a longer PFS at multivariable analysis in the total patient population treated with BR and ibrutinib were age (HR 1.06, 95% CI 1.02-1.10, P < 0.01) and treatment with ibrutinib (HR 0.55, 95% CI 0.33-0.93, P = 0.03). In a post hoc analysis of patients in advanced stage, a significant PFS advantage was observed in patient who had received ibrutinib (P = 0.03), who showed a trend for OS advantage (P = 0.08). We arrived at the following conclusions: (a) BR is a relatively effective first-line regimen in a real-world population of unfit patients without TP53 disruption, (b) ibrutinib provided longer disease control than BR in patients with advanced disease stage.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cam4.3470DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7666748PMC
November 2020

The Impact of Age on Survival in CLL Patients Receiving Ibrutinib as Initial Therapy.

Blood Lymphat Cancer 2020 24;10:1-5. Epub 2020 Aug 24.

Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA, USA.

Introduction: Recent randomized trials have demonstrated the efficacy of ibrutinib-based therapy in the treatment of patients with CLL. In Alliance A041202, a higher than expected number of unexplained deaths were reported with front-line ibrutinib in a patient population aged at least 65 years compared to ECOG 1912, which included patients up to 70 years of age.

Methods: Therefore, we conducted a retrospective analysis to investigate whether ibrutinib was associated with a greater mortality in older patients outside of a clinical trial setting. This multicenter analysis was performed by investigators at 20 academic and community practices.

Results: Amongst the 391 patients included, there was no correlation between age and response rate, PFS, or OS. However, there was a trend to higher rate of deaths in patients >65-years-old (8.7% vs 3.8%, p=0.097), with an increased number of early deaths (13 vs 4, p=0.3).

Conclusion: These data suggest greater intolerance, and possibly mortality, with ibrutinib in an older population. Patients should be educated regarding the potential complications related to ibrutinib and symptoms of concern to report.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/BLCTT.S262592DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7473982PMC
August 2020

Patterns of immune checkpoint protein expression in MYC-overexpressing aggressive B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas.

Cancer Immunol Immunother 2021 Mar 28;70(3):869-874. Epub 2020 Aug 28.

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Given the poor prognosis of MYC-overexpressing diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and B cell lymphoma unclassifiable with features intermediate between DLBCL and Burkitt lymphoma/high grade B cell lymphoma (BCLU/HGBL), and preclinical data suggesting that MYC may regulate the antitumor immune response, we sought to characterize expression of immune checkpoint proteins on tumor tissue from patients diagnosed with these lymphomas. Immunohistochemical staining for immune checkpoint protein expression was applied to 56 cases of MYC-overexpressing DLBCL and BCLU/HGBL, 35 of which also harbored MYC rearrangement (MYC-R). Analysis revealed both frequent overexpression of immune checkpoint proteins as well as differences in overexpression patterns based upon MYC-R status, with MYC-R cases more likely to overexpress PD-L1 and PD-1 in the tumor microenvironment (50 vs. 15%, p = 0.02 and 32 vs. 5%, p = 0.02, respectively) but less likely to overexpress CTLA-4 and CD80 on tumor cells (34 vs. 71%, p = 0.01 and 34 vs. 81%, p = 0.001, respectively), as compared to cases without MYC-R. These data may suggest a biologic rationale for investigation of the effect of checkpoint inhibitor therapies in these subgroups of MYC-overexpressing DLBCL and BCLU/HGBL.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00262-020-02708-3DOI Listing
March 2021

Bridging Radiation Therapy Before Commercial Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-Cell Therapy for Relapsed or Refractory Aggressive B-Cell Lymphoma.

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 2020 09 22;108(1):178-188. Epub 2020 May 22.

Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Purpose: CD19-targeting chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CART) therapy has emerged as a promising treatment for relapsed/refractory aggressive B-cell lymphoma (r/rABL), culminating in 2 US Food and Drug Administration-approved therapies: tisagenlecleucel (tisa-cel) and axicabtagene ciloleucel (axi-cel). Following leukapheresis and in preparation for CART infusion, contemporary bridging and lymphodepletion regimens rely mostly on cytotoxic chemotherapy. Here, in a cohort of patients treated with commercial tisa-cel and axi-cel, we show that bridging-RT may offer a supplemental approach.

Methods And Materials: Thirty-one patients receiving commercial tisa-cel (n = 13) or axi-cel (n = 18) between August 2018 and February 2019 for r/rABL were retrospectively reviewed. Patients were categorized into 2 groups: (1) bridging-RT within 30 days of CART infusion or (2) nonbridging-RT (NBRT), in which patients received either remote RT greater than 30 days before CART infusion or no prior RT.

Results: Five patients received bridging-RT within 30 days of CART infusion. Median bridging-RT dose was 37.5 Gy and was completed a median of 13 days before infusion. No grade 3 (G3) or higher RT-toxicities occurred. No patients in the bridging-RT group experienced G3 or higher CART-related toxicities (CRS or neurotoxicity), and 23% (n = 6) and 15% (n = 4) experienced G3-5 CRS and G3-5 neurotoxicity in the NBRT group, respectively. Overall treatment response in the bridging-RT and NBRT groups was 80% and 64%, respectively. The axi-cel CART product was associated with CRS (odds ratio [OR] = 26.67, P = .001) and CRS correlated with neurotoxicity (OR = 12.22, P = .028). There was a trend toward an association for CRS with metabolic tumor volume (OR = 1.06/mL, P = .141) and TLG (OR = 1.01/mL x standard uptake value, P = .099).

Conclusions: Bridging-RT before commercial CART does not appear to increase the risk for CART-related toxicities or negatively affect outcomes in r/rABL patients. No G3 or higher RT-toxicities occurred in this series. Pretreatment metabolic tumor burden may be associated with CART-associated CRS; however, larger patient numbers are required to elucidate significant associations. Future work to prospectively assess the value of bridging-RT is warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijrobp.2020.05.014DOI Listing
September 2020

Brentuximab vedotin in combination with rituximab, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, and prednisone as frontline treatment for patients with CD30-positive B-cell lymphomas.

Haematologica 2021 06 1;106(6):1705-1713. Epub 2021 Jun 1.

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

We conducted a phase I/II multicenter trial using 6 cycles of brentuximab vedotin (BV) in combination with rituximab, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, and prednisone (R-CHP) for treatment of patients with CD30-positive (+) B-cell lymphomas. Thirty-one patients were evaluable for toxicity and 29 for efficacy including 22 with primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma (PMBCL), 5 with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), and 2 with gray zone lymphoma (GZL). There were no treatment-related deaths; 32% of patients had non-hematological grade 3/4 toxicities. The overall response rate was 100% (95% CI: 88-100) with 86% (95% CI: 68-96) of patients achieving complete response at the end of systemic treatment. Consolidative radiation following end of treatment response assessment was permissible and used in 52% of all patients including 59% of patients with PMBCL. With a median follow-up of 30 months, the 2-year progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were 85% (95% CI: 66-94) and 100%, respectively. In the PMBCL cohort, 2-year PFS was 86% (95% CI: 62-95). In summary, BV-R-CHP with or without consolidative radiation is a feasible and active frontline regimen for CD30+ B-cell lymphomas (NCT01994850).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3324/haematol.2019.238675DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8168499PMC
June 2021

BTK Inhibitors in Cancer Patients with COVID-19: "The Winner Will be the One Who Controls That Chaos" (Napoleon Bonaparte).

Clin Cancer Res 2020 07 28;26(14):3514-3516. Epub 2020 Apr 28.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York.

As the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic spreads and the number of Bruton's tyrosine kinase inhibitor (BTKi)-treated COVID-19-affected patients grows, we must consider the pros and cons of BTKi discontinuation for our patients. In favor of BTKi continuation, BTK plays an active role in macrophage polarization. By modulating key transcription factors, BTK may regulate macrophage polarization downstream of classic M1 and M2 polarizing stimuli and mitigate the hyperinflammatory state associated with COVID-19. In favor of BTKi discontinuation, we note a potentially increased risk of secondary infections and impaired humoral immunity. We hypothesize that the potential benefit of blunting a hyperinflammatory response to SARS-CoV-2 through attenuation of M1 polarization outweighs the potential risk of impaired humoral immunity, not to mention the risk of rapid progression of B-cell malignancy following BTKi interruption. On the basis of this, we suggest continuing BTKi in patients with COVID-19.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-20-1427DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7367762PMC
July 2020

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

Assessment of the Efficacy of Therapies Following Venetoclax Discontinuation in CLL Reveals BTK Inhibition as an Effective Strategy.

Clin Cancer Res 2020 07 20;26(14):3589-3596. Epub 2020 Mar 20.

Division of Malignant Hematology, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, Florida.

Purpose: Venetoclax-based therapy is a standard-of-care option in first-line and relapsed/refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Patient management following venetoclax discontinuation remains nonstandard and poorly understood.

Experimental Design: To address this, we conducted a large international study to identify a cohort of 326 patients who discontinued venetoclax and have been subsequently treated. Coprimary endpoints were overall response rate (ORR) and progression-free survival for the post-venetoclax treatments stratified by treatment type [Bruton's tyrosine kinase inhibitor (BTKi), PI3K inhibitor (PI3Ki), and cellular therapies].

Results: We identified patients with CLL who discontinued venetoclax in the first-line (4%) and relapsed/refractory settings (96%). Patients received a median of three therapies prior to venetoclax; 40% were BTKi naïve ( = 130), and 81% were idelalisib naïve ( = 263). ORR to BTKi was 84% ( = 44) in BTKi-naïve patients versus 54% ( = 30) in BTKi-exposed patients. We demonstrate therapy selection following venetoclax requires prior novel agent exposure consideration and discontinuation reasons.

Conclusions: For BTKi-naïve patients, selection of covalently binding BTKis results in high ORR and durable remissions. For BTKi-exposed patients, covalent BTK inhibition is not effective in the setting of BTKi resistance. PI3Kis following venetoclax do not appear to result in durable remissions. We conclude that BTKi in naïve or previously responsive patients and cellular therapies following venetoclax may be the most effective strategies..
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-19-3815DOI Listing
July 2020

Ibrutinib-associated Arthralgias/Myalgias in Patients With Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia: Incidence and Impact on Clinical Outcomes.

Clin Lymphoma Myeloma Leuk 2020 07 27;20(7):438-444.e1. Epub 2020 Feb 27.

Division of Hematology/Oncology, Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.

Introduction: The Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor ibrutinib has transformed the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), leading to unprecedented improvements in progression-free and overall survival for all patients, including those with poor prognostic features. The side effect profile of ibrutinib is unique compared with chemoimmunotherapy and includes atrial fibrillation, increased bleeding risk, and arthralgias/myalgias. Although common, arthralgias/myalgias and their management are poorly described.

Patients And Methods: We identified 214 patients with CLL treated with ibrutinib (as a single agent or in combination) from 2011 to 2018 at the University of Pennsylvania.

Results: In this cohort, 36% (76/214) of patients developed arthralgias/myalgias during follow-up with a median onset of 34.5 months. Most (79%) events were grade 1 or 2. Risk factors for developing arthralgias/myalgias included younger age at start of ibrutinib, female gender, and ibrutinib use as first treatment. Twenty-eight percent of patients with grade 1 or 2 toxicity continued ibrutinib and had resolution of symptoms. Dose holds were frequently used to manage this toxicity, and this strategy was more successful than dose reduction. Sixty-two percent of patients with grade 3 toxicity ultimately discontinued ibrutinib. Supportive care measures such as discontinuing statins or use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, acetaminophen, or corticosteroids were not used frequently enough in this cohort to evaluate their efficacy.

Conclusions: Additional studies to determine the mechanism of ibrutinib-related arthralgias/myalgias are needed to develop optimal management strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clml.2020.02.001DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7305967PMC
July 2020

Patient-reported long-term quality of life after tisagenlecleucel in relapsed/refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.

Blood Adv 2020 02;4(4):629-637

Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, St Vincent's Hospital and University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

The JULIET phase 2 trial evaluated a single infusion of tisagenlecleucel in adult patients with relapsed/refractory (r/r) diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). The objective of the current analysis was to evaluate patient-reported health-related quality of life (HRQoL) with a median follow-up of 19.3 months among patients infused with a single dose of tisagenlecleucel. Patients enrolled were ≥18 years of age with r/r DLBCL after ≥2 lines of therapy and had either undergone a failed autologous stem cell transplant or were ineligible for the procedure. Two validated HRQoL instruments, Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Lymphoma (FACT-Lym) and Short Form-36 (SF-36) Health Survey, were used to measure HRQoL at baseline and months 3, 6, 12, and 18. At data cutoff (21 May 2018), 115 patients had received tisagenlecleucel infusion. Among the 99 patients evaluated, overall response rate was 54%, and 40% of patients achieved complete response (CR). Initially, 108 patients completed the HRQoL assessments at baseline, including 57 patients who eventually achieved CR or partial response (PR). Further, 30 and 21 patients in clinical response who completed assessments at baseline also completed assessments at months 12 and 18, respectively. Patients who achieved CR or PR sustained HRQoL improvement in all FACT scores at all time points. SF-36 instruments showed improvement above the minimal clinically important differences on 5 of 8 subscales. Long-term follow-up in the phase 2 JULIET study demonstrated that patients with r/r DLBCL who respond to tisagenlecleucel therapy had sustained, clinically meaningful improvements in HRQoL. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT02445248.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2019001026DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7042998PMC
February 2020

Tisagenlecleucel cellular kinetics, dose, and immunogenicity in relation to clinical factors in relapsed/refractory DLBCL.

Blood Adv 2020 02;4(3):560-572

Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant Center, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, Atlanta, GA.

The anti-CD19 chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cell therapy tisagenlecleucel was evaluated in the global, phase 2 JULIET study in adult patients with relapsed/refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). We correlated tisagenlecleucel cellular kinetics with clinical/product parameters in 111 patients treated in JULIET. Tisagenlecleucel persistence in responders and nonresponders, respectively, was demonstrated for 554 and 400 days maximum by flow cytometry and for 693 and 374 days maximum by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). No relationships were identified between cellular kinetics (qPCR) and product characteristics, intrinsic/extrinsic factors, dose, or immunogenicity. Most patients with 3-month response had detectable transgene at time of response and continued persistence for ≥6 months. Expansion (maximal expansion of transgene/CAR-positive T-cell levels in vivo postinfusion [Cmax]) was potentially associated with response duration but this did not reach statistical significance (hazard ratio for a twofold increase in Cmax, 0.79; 95% confidence interval, 0.61-1.01). Tisagenlecleucel expansion was associated with cytokine-release syndrome (CRS) severity and tocilizumab use; no relationships were observed with neurologic events. Transgene levels were associated with B-cell levels. Dose was associated with CRS severity, but this was not statistically significant after adjusting for baseline tumor burden. In contrast to the results from B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) and chronic lymphocytic leukemia, similar exposure was observed in DLBCL in this study regardless of response and expansion was lower in DLBCL than B-ALL, likely from differences in cancer location and/or T-cell intrinsic factors. Relationships between expansion and CRS severity, and lack of relationships between dose and exposure, were similar between DLBCL and B-ALL. Tisagenlecleucel cellular kinetics in adult relapsed/refractory DLBCL improve current understanding of in vivo expansion and its relationships with safety/efficacy endpoints. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT02445248.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2019000525DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7013261PMC
February 2020
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