Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2019 May 15;116(19):9543-9551. Epub 2019 Apr 15.
State Key Laboratory of Medical Genomics, Shanghai Institute of Hematology, National Research Center for Translational Medicine, Ruijin Hospital affiliated with Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, 200025 Shanghai, China;
Relapsed and refractory (R/R) multiple myeloma (MM) patients have very poor prognosis. Chimeric antigen receptor modified T (CAR T) cells is an emerging approach in treating hematopoietic malignancies. Here we conducted the clinical trial of a biepitope-targeting CAR T against B cell maturation antigen (BCMA) (LCAR-B38M) in 17 R/R MM cases. CAR T cells were i.v. infused after lymphodepleting chemotherapy. Two delivery methods, three infusions versus one infusion of the total CAR T dose, were tested in, respectively, 8 and 9 cases. No response differences were noted among the two delivery subgroups. Together, after CAR T cell infusion, 10 cases experienced a mild cytokine release syndrome (CRS), 6 had severe but manageable CRS, and 1 died of a very severe toxic reaction. The abundance of BCMA and cytogenetic marker del(17p) and the elevation of IL-6 were the key indicators for severe CRS. Among 17 cases, the overall response rate was 88.2%, with 13 achieving stringent complete response (sCR) and 2 reaching very good partial response (VGPR), while 1 was a nonresponder. With a median follow-up of 417 days, 8 patients remained in sCR or VGPR, whereas 6 relapsed after sCR and 1 had progressive disease (PD) after VGPR. CAR T cells were high in most cases with stable response but low in 6 out of 7 relapse/PD cases. Notably, positive anti-CAR antibody constituted a high-risk factor for relapse/PD, and patients who received prior autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation had more durable response. Thus, biepitopic CAR T against BCMA represents a promising therapy for R/R MM, while most adverse effects are clinically manageable.