Abstract

Therapeutic options for acute lymphoblastic leukemia, especially in the relapsed/refractory setting, have expanded significantly in recent times. However, this comes at the cost of toxicities: medical as well as financial. We highlight some of the unique toxicities associated with the novel agents to apprise our readers about what to expect, how to recognize them, and how to manage these toxicities. One of the toxicities seen with inotuzumab, a CD22 antibody drug conjugate, is sinusoidal obstruction syndrome, which can be fatal in >80% of patients if associated with multiorgan failure. Blinatumomab, a monoclonal antibody targeting CD19, is associated with cytokine release syndrome (CRS) and neurotoxicity, both of which require prompt recognition and management primarily with corticosteroids. CRS and neurotoxicity are more common and more severe with chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy (CAR-T). The fact that CAR-T cannot be discontinued on demand adds a layer of complexity to the management of related toxicities of this therapy. Tocilizumab, an interleukin-6 receptor blocker, is used to treat severe CRS from CAR-T, whereas corticosteroids remain the mainstay for neurotoxicity management. Although effective, these drugs carry a high price tag, and we review the available data on cost-effectiveness of these agents, keeping in mind that median follow-up on most of these studies is limited and that long-term data on durability of response remain to be seen.

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