B-ALL progressing after CD19 CAR T-cell therapy carries poor prognosis and remains an unmet clinical need.
Blinatumomab, inotuzumab, and CAR T-cell retreatment can induce CR after post–CAR T progression, but remission duration and survival are limited.
CD19-targeted chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy has become a breakthrough treatment of patients with relapsed/refractory B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL). However, despite the high initial response rate, the majority of adult patients with B-ALL progress after CD19 CAR T-cell therapy. Data on the natural history, management, and outcome of adult B-ALL progressing after CD19 CAR T cells have not been described in detail. Herein, we report comprehensive data of 38 adult patients with B-ALL who progressed after CD19 CAR T therapy at our institution. The median time to progression after CAR T-cell therapy was 5.5 months. Median survival after post–CAR T progression was 7.5 months. A high disease burden at the time of CAR T-cell infusion was significantly associated with risk of post–CAR T progression. Thirty patients (79%) received salvage treatment of post–CAR T disease progression, and 13 patients (43%) achieved complete remission (CR), but remission duration was short. Notably, 7 (58.3%) of 12 patients achieved CR after blinatumomab and/or inotuzumab administered following post–CAR T failure. Multivariate analysis revealed that a longer remission duration from CAR T cells was associated with superior survival after progression following CAR T-cell therapy. In summary, overall prognosis of adult B-ALL patients progressing after CD19 CAR T cells was poor, although a subset of patients achieved sustained remissions to salvage treatments, including blinatumomab, inotuzumab, and reinfusion of CAR T cells. Novel therapeutic strategies are needed to reduce risk of progression after CAR T-cell therapy and improve outcomes of these patients.