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J Clin Oncol. 2020 Feb 10;38(5):415-422. doi: 10.1200/JCO.19.01892. Epub 2019 Dec 9.

Optimizing Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-Cell Therapy for Adults With Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

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Division of Hematology Oncology, Abramson Cancer Center, Cell Therapy and Transplant, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA.
Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Informatics, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA.
Department of Pediatrics, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA.
Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI.
Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Center for Cellular Immunotherapy, University of Pennsylvania Perlman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA.



The anti-CD19 chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy tisagenlecleucel (CTL019) has an 81% response rate in children with relapsed or chemotherapy refractory (r/r) B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Cytokine release syndrome (CRS) is a life-threatening treatment-related toxicity that limits the full therapeutic potential in adults. We report outcomes for adults with r/r ALL treated with an optimized CTL019 dosing and CRS management strategy.


Adults with r/r B-cell ALL received CTL019 in 1 of 2 trials. Patients received lymphodepletion followed by CTL019 as either a one-time infusion or fractionated infusions split over 3 days (day 1, 10%; day 2, 30%; day 3, 60%), which allowed for day 2 and day 3 doses to be held for early CRS. Total planned CTL019 dose varied with adaptive protocol modifications in response to efficacy and CRS toxicity.


Thirty-five adults with r/r ALL received CTL019 in 1 of 3 dosing cohorts. The low-dose cohort (n = 9) received single or fractionated dosing and had manageable toxicity with a 33% complete remission (CR) rate. In the high-dose single infusion cohort, 3 of 6 patients with refractory CRS concurrent with culture-positive sepsis died, and 3 achieved CR. The 20 patients in the high-dose fractionated (HDF) cohort had a 90% CR rate and manageable CRS. The HDF cohort had the highest survival, with a 2-year overall survival of 73% (95% CI, 46% to 88%) and event-free survival of 49.5% (95% CI, 21% to 73%).


Fractionated dosing of CTL019 with intrapatient dose modification optimizes safety without compromising efficacy in adults with r/r ALL.


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