ARTICLE ABSTRACTThe chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy has been effective for patients with CD19+ B-cell malignancies. Most studies have investigated the second-generation CARs with either CD28 or 4-1BB costimulatory domains in the CAR receptor. Here, we describe the first clinical phase I/IIa trial using third-generation CAR T cells targeting CD19 to evaluate safety and efficacy.
Fifteen patients with B-cell lymphoma or leukemia were treated with CAR T cells. The patients with lymphoma received chemotherapy during CAR manufacture and 11 of 15 were given low-dose cyclophosphamide and fludarabine conditioning prior to CAR infusion. Peripheral blood was sampled before and at multiple time points after CAR infusion to evaluate the persistence of CAR T cells and for immune profiling, using quantitative PCR, flow cytometry, and a proteomic array.
Treatment with third-generation CAR T cells was generally safe with 4 patients requiring hospitalization due to adverse reactions. Six of the 15 patients had initial complete responses [4/11 lymphoma and 2/4 acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)], and 3 of the patients with lymphoma were in remission at 3 months. Two patients are still alive. Best predictor of response was a good immune status prior to CAR infusion with high IL12, DC-Lamp, Fas ligand, and TRAIL. Responding patients had low monocytic myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs; CD14+CD33+HLA−DR−) and low levels of IL6, IL8, NAP3, sPDL1, and sPDL2.
Third-generation CARs may be efficient in patients with advanced B-cell lymphoproliferative malignancy with only modest toxicity. Immune profiling pre- and posttreatment can be used to find response biomarkers.