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Attendees at ASCO 2015
©ASCO/Rodney White

CHICAGO—The CD19-directed chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy CTL019 has shown promise for treating non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) and may be a feasible treatment option for multiple myeloma (MM) as well, according to researchers.

In an ongoing phase 2 trial, CTL019 has produced durable responses in patients with relapsed or refractory NHL.

And early results of a phase 1 trial suggest CTL019 can provide clinical benefit in heavily pretreated patients with MM.

Both studies were presented at the 2015 ASCO Annual Meeting. The University of Pennsylvania and Novartis have an exclusive global collaboration to research, develop, and commercialize CTL019.

CTL019 in NHL

Stephen Schuster, MD, of the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, presented results of the phase 2 NHL trial (abstract 8516*).

The trial included 20 evaluable patients, 13 with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and 7 with follicular lymphoma (FL). At the time of presentation, the median follow-up was 274 days for the patients with DLBCL and 290 days for those with FL.

The overall response rate was 100% in patients with FL and 50% in those with DLBCL. Thirteen patients responded to the therapy, including 11 who achieved a complete response and 2 who experienced a partial response.

Six patients with a partial response to treatment at 3 months achieved a complete response by 6 months. Two patients with a partial response experienced disease progression at 6 and 12 months after treatment.

The researchers said toxicity appeared to be acceptable, with primarily grade 2 cytokine release syndrome (CRS). Two patients developed CRS of grade 3 or higher at peak T-cell expansion. There were no deaths from CRS.

“The results from this ongoing study of CTL019 are encouraging, as we now have data through 6 months showing that patients may have achieved durable overall response rates,” Dr Schuster said. “These data support our ongoing efforts to determine the potential role of CTL019 in improving outcomes for patients with certain types of B-cell lymphomas.”

CTL019 in MM

Alfred Garfall, MD, of the Abramson Cancer Center, presented preliminary results of an ongoing phase 1 study investigating CTL019 in patients with MM (abstract 8517*).

Dr Garfall and his colleagues hypothesized that CTL019 would exhibit efficacy in MM due to low-level CD19 expression on MM plasma cells or CD19 expression in drug-resistant, disease-propagating subsets of the MM clone.

The study included 5 patients who experienced disease progression within a year of a prior autologous stem cell transplant and were medically fit to undergo a second autologous transplant. The patients had received a median of 7.5 prior lines of therapy.

“We found potential evidence of clinical benefit in 3 of 4 patients with more than 100 days of follow-up,” Dr Garfall said.

Two patients experienced longer, deeper responses, and 1 patient experienced CRS.

The data suggest “it is safe and feasible to manufacture and administered CTL019 to refractory multiple myeloma patients,” Dr Garfall said.

*Information in the abstract differs from that presented at the meeting.

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