Tong et al. evaluated multiple variants of bispecific scFv CAR T cells (TanCAR) targeting CD19 and CD20, and selected TanCAR7 based on antitumor activity. TanCAR7 T cells showed dual antigen coverage, stable immunological synapse structure, robust degranulation, and potent antitumor activity in a lymphoma xenograft model compared to single-targeted CAR T cells. Among 28 TanCAR7-infused relapsed/refractory Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma patients, the overall response rate was 79% and the complete response rate was 71%. PFS at 12 months was 64%, with absence of grade 3 or higher CAR T cell-related encephalopathy syndrome (CRES).
Contributed by Shishir Pant
ABSTRACT: Chimeric antigen receptor T (CAR T) cells targeting CD19 have achieved breakthroughs in the treatment of hematological malignancies, such as relapsed/refractory non-Hodgkin lymphoma (r/rNHL); however, high rates of treatment failure and recurrence after CAR T cell therapy are considerable obstacles to overcome. In this study, we designed a series of tandem CARs (TanCARs) and found that TanCAR7 T cells not only showed dual antigen targeting of both CD19 and CD20 but also formed superior and stable immunological synapse (IS) structures, which may be related to their robust antitumor activity. In an open-label, single-arm phase I/IIa trial (ClinicalTrials.gov number NCT03097770), we enrolled 33 patients with r/rNHL, and a total of 28 patients received an infusion after conditioning chemotherapy. The primary objective was to evaluate the safety and tolerability of TanCAR7 T cells. Efficacy, progression-free survival and overall survival were evaluated as secondary objectives. Cytokine release syndrome (CRS) occurred in 14 patients (50%), with 36% grade 1 or 2 and 14% grade 3. No cases of CAR T cell-related encephalopathy syndrome (CRES) of grade 3 or higher were confirmed in any patient. One patient died from a treatment-associated severe pulmonary infection. The overall response rate was 79% (95% confidence interval [CI], 60 to 92), and the complete response rate was 71%. The progression-free survival rate at 12 months was 64% (95% CI, 43 to 79). In this study, TanCAR7 T cells elicited a potent and durable antitumor response but not grade 3 or higher CRES in patients with r/rNHL.