Blood 2017 11 21;130(21):2317-2325. Epub 2017 Sep 21.
Abramson Cancer Center, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.
Tisagenlecleucel (CTL019) is an investigational immunotherapy that involves reprogramming a patient's own T cells with a transgene encoding a chimeric antigen receptor to identify and eliminate CD19-expressing cells. We previously reported that CTL019 achieved impressive clinical efficacy in patients with relapsed/refractory B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), including the expansion and persistence of CTL019 cells, which correlates with response to therapy. Here, we performed formal cellular kinetic analyses of CTL019 in a larger cohort of 103 patients treated with CTL019 in 2 different diseases (ALL and CLL). CTL019 was measured in peripheral blood and bone marrow, using quantitative polymerase chain reaction and flow cytometry. CTL019 levels in peripheral blood typically peaked at 10 to 14 days postinfusion and then declined slowly over time. Patients with complete response (CR)/CR with incomplete count recovery had higher levels of CTL019 in peripheral blood, with greater maximal concentration and area under the curve values compared with nonresponding patients ( < .0001 for each). CTL019 transgene levels were measurable up to 780 days in peripheral blood. CTL019 trafficking and persistence were observed in bone marrow and cerebrospinal fluid. CTL019 expansion correlated with severity of cytokine release syndrome (CRS) and preinfusion tumor burden in pediatric ALL. The results described here are the first detailed formal presentation of cellular kinetics across 2 diseases and highlight the importance of the application of in vivo cellular kinetic analyses to characterize clinical efficacy and CRS severity associated with CTL019 therapy.