Purpose: One of the challenges of adoptive T-cell therapy is the development of immune-mediated toxicities including cytokine release syndrome (CRS) and neurotoxicity (NT). We aimed to identify factors that place patients at high risk of severe toxicity or treatment-related death in a cohort of 75 patients with large B-cell lymphoma treated with a standard of care CD19 targeted CAR T-cell product (axicabtagene ciloleucel). Experimental Design: Serum cytokine and catecholamine levels were measured prior to lymphodepleting chemotherapy, on the day of CAR T infusion and daily thereafter while patients remained hospitalized. Tumor biopsies were taken within 1 month prior to CAR T infusion for evaluation of gene expression. Results: We identified an association between pretreatment levels of IL6 and life-threatening CRS and NT. Because the risk of toxicity was related to pretreatment factors, we hypothesized that the tumor microenvironment (TME) may influence CAR T-cell toxicity. In pretreatment patient tumor biopsies, gene expression of myeloid markers was associated with higher toxicity. Conclusions: These results suggest that a proinflammatory state and an unfavorable TME preemptively put patients at risk for toxicity after CAR T-cell therapy. Tailoring toxicity management strategies to patient risk may reduce morbidity and mortality.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research