Purpose Therapies with novel mechanisms of action are needed for multiple myeloma (MM). T cells can be genetically modified to express chimeric antigen receptors (CARs), which are artificial proteins that target T cells to antigens. B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA) is expressed by normal and malignant plasma cells but not normal essential cells. We conducted the first-in-humans clinical trial, to our knowledge, of T cells expressing a CAR targeting BCMA (CAR-BCMA). Patients and Methods Sixteen patients received 9 3 106 CAR-BCMA T cells/kg at the highest dose level of the trial; we are reporting results of these 16 patients. The patients had a median of 9.5 prior lines of MM therapy. Sixty-three percent of patients had MM refractory to the last treatment regimen before protocol enrollment. T cells were transduced with a g-retroviral vector encoding CAR-BCMA. Patients received CAR-BCMA T cells after a conditioning chemotherapy regimen of cyclophosphamide and fludarabine. Results The overall response rate was 81%, with 63% very good partial response or complete response. Median event-free survival was 31 weeks. Responses included eradication of extensive bone marrow myeloma and resolution of soft-tissue plasmacytomas. All 11 patients who obtained an anti-MM response of partial response or better and had MM evaluable for minimal residual disease obtained bone marrow minimal residual disease–negative status. High peak blood CAR+ cell levels were associated with anti-MM responses. Cytokine-release syndrome toxicities were severe in some cases but were reversible. Blood CAR-BCMA T cells were predominantly highly differentiated CD8+ T cells 6 to 9 days after infusion. BCMA antigen loss from MM was observed. Conclusion CAR-BCMA T cells had substantial activity against heavily treated relapsed/refractory MM. Our results should encourage additional development of CAR T-cell therapies for MM.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research