We assessed minimal residual disease (MRD) detection and B-cell aplasia after tisagenlecleucel therapy for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) to define biomarkers predictive of relapse (N = 143). Next-generation sequencing (NGS) MRD detection >0 in bone marrow (BM) was highly associated with relapse. B-cell recovery [signifying loss of functional chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells] within the first year of treatment was associated with a hazard ratio (HR) for relapse of 4.5 [95% confidence interval (CI), 2.03-9.97; P < 0.001]. Multivariate analysis at day 28 showed independent associations of BMNGS-MRD >0 (HR = 4.87; 95% CI, 2.18-10.8; P < 0.001) and B-cell recovery (HR = 3.33; 95% CI, 1.44-7.69; P = 0.005) with relapse. By 3 months, the BMNGS-MRD HR increased to 12 (95% CI, 2.87-50; P < 0.001), whereas B-cell recovery was not independently predictive (HR = 1.27; 95% CI, 0.33-4.79; P = 0.7). Relapses occurring with persistence of B-cell aplasia were largely CD19- (23/25: 88%). Detectable BMNGS-MRD reliably predicts risk with sufficient time to consider approaches to relapse prevention such as hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) or second CAR-T cell infusion. SIGNIFICANCE: Detectable disease by BMNGS-MRD with or without B-cell aplasia is highly predictive of relapse after tisagenlecleucel therapy for ALL. Clonotypic rearrangements used to follow NGS-MRD did not change after loss of CD19 or lineage switch. High-risk patients identified by these biomarkers may benefit from HCT or investigational cell therapies.
Blood Cancer Discov
Pulsipher MA, Han X, Maude SL, et al. Next-Generation Sequencing of Minimal Residual Disease for Predicting Relapse after Tisagenlecleucel in Children and Young Adults with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Blood Cancer Discov. 2022;3(1):66-81. doi:10.1158/2643-3230.BCD-21-0095