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DOI: 10.1016/j.eclinm.2023.102268; PMCID: PMC10632672


BACKGROUND: Tisagenlecleucel was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2017 for refractory B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) and B-ALL in ≥2nd relapse. Outcomes of patients receiving commercial tisagenlecleucel upon 1st relapse have yet to be established. We aimed to report real-world tisagenlecleucel utilisation patterns and outcomes across indications, specifically including patients treated in 1st relapse, an indication omitted from formal FDA approval.

METHODS: We conducted a retrospective analysis of real-world tisagenlecleucel utilisation patterns across 185 children and young adults treated between August 30, 2017 and March 6, 2020 from centres participating in the Pediatric Real-World CAR Consortium (PRWCC), within the United States. We described definitions of refractory B-ALL used in the real-world setting and categorised patients by reported Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T-cell indication, including refractory, 1st relapse and ≥2nd relapse B-ALL. We analysed baseline patient characteristics and post-tisagenlecleucel outcomes across defined cohorts.

FINDINGS: Thirty-six percent (n = 67) of our cohort received tisagenlecleucel following 1st relapse. Of 66 evaluable patients, 56 (85%, 95% CI 74-92%) achieved morphologic complete response. Overall-survival (OS) and event-free survival (EFS) at 1-year were 69%, (95% CI 58-82%) and 49%, (95% CI 37-64%), respectively, with survival outcomes statistically comparable to remaining patients (OS; p = 0.14, EFS; p = 0.39). Notably, toxicity was increased in this cohort, warranting further study. Interestingly, of 30 patients treated for upfront refractory disease, 23 (77%, 95% CI 58-90%) had flow cytometry and/or next-generation sequencing (NGS) minimum residual disease (MRD)-only disease at the end of induction, not meeting the historic morphologic definition of refractory.

INTERPRETATION: Our findings suggested that tisagenlecleucel response and survival rates overlap across patients treated with upfront refractory B-ALL, B-ALL ≥2nd relapse and B-ALL in 1st relapse. We additionally highlighted that definitions of refractory B-ALL are evolving beyond morphologic measures of residual disease.

FUNDING: St. Baldrick's/Stand Up 2 Cancer, Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, Virginia and D.K. Ludwig Fund for Cancer Research.

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CAR T cells; CD19 CAR T cells; Commercial CAR; First relapse; Immunotherapy; Pediatric oncology; Real-world analysis; Tisagenlecleucel


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