Introduction: BCMA targeted CAR T cell therapy has shown promising results in patients with relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma (MM). Herein, we report on the safety and efficacy of MCARH171, a second generation, human derived BCMA targeted autologous 4-1BB containing CAR T cell therapy, including a truncated epidermal growth factor receptor safety system (Smith EL. Mol Ther 2018).

Methods: This is a phase I first in human, dose escalation trial of MCARH171. Patients received conditioning chemotherapy with cyclophosphamide (Cy) 3 gm/m2 as a single dose or fludarabine 30 mg/m2 daily and Cy 300 mg/m2 daily for 3 days followed by MCARH171 infusion in 1-2 divided doses. The trial followed a standard 3+3 design with 4 dose levels where patients received the following mean doses per cohort: (1) 72x106, (2) 137x106, (3) 475x106, (4) 818x106 viable CAR+ T cells. The primary objective was to demonstrate safety, and secondary objectives included efficacy and expansion, and persistence of CAR T cells using PCR from the peripheral blood. The last accrued patient received MCARH171 on Dec 6, 2017 and the data cut-off is July 16, 2018. The study is closed to accrual.

Results: 11 patients with relapsed and/or refractory MM were treated. Median number of prior lines of therapy was 6 (range: 4-14), and all patients received prior therapy with a proteasome inhibitor, IMiD, anti-CD38 monoclonal antibody, and high dose melphalan/stem cell transplant. Nine (82%) patients had high-risk cytogenetics and 9 (82%) were refractory to their immediate prior line of treatment. One patient was not evaluable for DLTs given the need for early radiation and steroids for impending spinal cord compression by tumor. There are no DLTs reported. Cytokine release syndrome (CRS) grade 1-2 occurred in 4 patients (40%), grade 3 occurred in 2 (20%), and there was no grade 4-5 CRS. Grade 2 encephalopathy occurred in 1 patient (10%) in the setting of high fevers which resolved in less than 24 hours. There was no grade 3 or higher neurotoxicity observed. Tocilizumab was administered to 3 patients; 2 in cohort 2, and 1 in cohort 3. Laboratory values correlating with CRS reaching grade 3 or requiring Tocilizumab (N=4) compared to those with no or milder CRS (N=6) included peak CRP (mean: 28.5 vs 4.6 mg/dL, p<0.001), IFNg (mean peak fold increase: 271 vs 11-fold, p<0.0001), and peak IL6 before Tocilizumab, as IL6 elevation artificially increases after use (mean: 435 vs 68.7 pg/mL, p<0.005). No significant change was seen in ferritin or fibrinogen compared to baseline.

Overall response rate was 64% and the median duration of response was 106 days (range: 17 to 235 days). The peak expansion and persistence of MCARH171 as well as durable clinical responses were dose dependent. Patients who were treated on the first two dose cohorts (≤150 X106 CAR T cells) had a lower peak expansion in the peripheral blood (mean 14,098 copies/µL; N=6), compared to patients who were treated on the third or fourth dose cohort 3-4 (≥450 X106 CAR T cells; N=5), where the mean peak expansion was 90,208 copies/µL (p<0.05). Among the 5 patients who received higher doses (450 X106), 5/5(100%) patients responded. The duration of responses was also related to the cell dose, with 3 of 5 patients (60%) treated in the cohorts receiving ≥450 X106 had clinical responses lasting >6 months compared to only 1 of 6 (16.7%) patients who received lower doses. Two patien have ongoing responses (VGPR) at 7.5+ and 10+ months of follow up.

To normalize for dose administered we compared the pharmacokinetics of only patients treated at dose levels 3-4 ( ≥450 X106 CAR T cells). Here, we demonstrate that peak expansion correlated to clinical efficacy, with the 3 durable responders all having peak expansion >85,000 copies/µL (mean: 131,732 copies/µL); compared to transient responders, where the maximum peak expansion was 33,213 copies/µL (mean: 27,922; Figure 1).

Conclusions: MCARH171 has an acceptable safety profile with no DLTs reported. A dose-response relationship with toxicity was not clearly observed, as noted by distribution of tocilizumab use across dose cohorts. However, a dose-response relationship was observed with promising clinical efficacy at dose levels of ≥450 X106 CAR T cells. Controlling for dose level, peak expansion correlated with durability of response. These results further support the development of CAR T cells for heavily pre-treated patients with relapsed and refractory MM.


Mailankody:Janssen: Research Funding; Takeda: Research Funding; Juno: Research Funding; Physician Education Resource: Honoraria. Korde:Amgen: Research Funding. Lesokhin:Takeda: Consultancy, Honoraria; Squibb: Consultancy, Honoraria; Janssen: Research Funding; Genentech: Research Funding; Serametrix, inc.: Patents & Royalties: Royalties; Bristol-Myers Squibb: Consultancy, Honoraria, Research Funding. Hassoun:Oncopeptides AB: Research Funding. Park:Juno Therapeutics: Consultancy, Research Funding; Amgen: Consultancy, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Pfizer: Consultancy; AstraZeneca: Consultancy; Adaptive Biotechnologies: Consultancy; Kite Pharma: Consultancy; Novartis: Consultancy; Shire: Consultancy. Sauter:Juno Therapeutics: Consultancy, Research Funding; Sanofi-Genzyme: Consultancy, Research Funding; Spectrum Pharmaceuticals: Consultancy; Novartis: Consultancy; Precision Biosciences: Consultancy; Kite: Consultancy. Palomba:Pharmacyclics: Consultancy; Celgene: Consultancy. Riviere:Fate Therapeutics Inc.: Research Funding; Juno Therapeutics, a Celgene Company: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding. Landgren:Takeda: Consultancy, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding; Amgen: Consultancy, Research Funding; Pfizer: Consultancy; Janssen: Consultancy, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding; Karyopharm: Consultancy; Merck: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Celgene: Consultancy, Research Funding. Brentjens:Juno Therapeutics, a Celgene Company: Consultancy, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Patents & Royalties, Research Funding. Smith:Celgene: Consultancy, Patents & Royalties: CAR T cell therapies for MM, Research Funding.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.

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