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CD20-specific chimeric antigen receptor-expressing T cells as salvage therapy in rituximab-refractory/relapsed B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma

  • Qian Cheng
    Affiliations
    Department of Hematology, Third Xiangya Hospital of Central South University, Changsha, China
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  • Jingwen Tan
    Affiliations
    Shanghai UniCAR Therapy Biomedicine Technology Co, Ltd, Shanghai, China

    Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Technology, Shanghai Engineering Research Center of Molecular Therapeutics and New Drug Development, School of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China
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  • Rui Liu
    Affiliations
    Department of Hematology, Third Xiangya Hospital of Central South University, Changsha, China
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  • Liqing Kang
    Affiliations
    Shanghai UniCAR Therapy Biomedicine Technology Co, Ltd, Shanghai, China
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  • Yi Zhang
    Affiliations
    Department of Gastrointestinal Surgery, Third Xiangya Hospital of Central South University, Changsha, China
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  • Erhua Wang
    Affiliations
    Department of Hematology, Third Xiangya Hospital of Central South University, Changsha, China
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  • Ying Li
    Affiliations
    Department of Hematology, Third Xiangya Hospital of Central South University, Changsha, China
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  • Jian Zhang
    Affiliations
    Department of Hematology, Third Xiangya Hospital of Central South University, Changsha, China
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  • Han Xiao
    Affiliations
    Department of Hematology, Third Xiangya Hospital of Central South University, Changsha, China
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  • Nan Xu
    Affiliations
    Shanghai UniCAR Therapy Biomedicine Technology Co, Ltd, Shanghai, China

    Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Technology, Shanghai Engineering Research Center of Molecular Therapeutics and New Drug Development, School of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China
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  • Minghao Li
    Affiliations
    Shanghai UniCAR Therapy Biomedicine Technology Co, Ltd, Shanghai, China

    Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Technology, Shanghai Engineering Research Center of Molecular Therapeutics and New Drug Development, School of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China
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  • Lei Yu
    Correspondence
    Correspondence: Lei Yu, Shanghai Unicar-Therapy Bio-medicine Technology Co., Ltd, No 1525 Minqiang Road, Shanghai, 201612, China and Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Technology, Shanghai Engineering Research Center of Molecular Therapeutics and New Drug Development, School of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering, East China Normal University, NO, 3663 North Zhongshan Road, Shanghai, 200065, China.
    Affiliations
    Shanghai UniCAR Therapy Biomedicine Technology Co, Ltd, Shanghai, China

    Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Technology, Shanghai Engineering Research Center of Molecular Therapeutics and New Drug Development, School of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China
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  • Xin Li
    Correspondence
    Correspondence: Xin Li, MD, Department of Hematology, Third Xiangya Hospital of Central South University, Changsha 410000, China.
    Affiliations
    Department of Hematology, Third Xiangya Hospital of Central South University, Changsha, China
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      Abstract

      Background aims

      The infusion of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells that target specific tumor-associated antigens is a promising strategy that has exhibited encouraging results in clinical trials. However, few studies have focused on the effectiveness and safety of CD20 CAR T cells in rituximab-refractory/relapsed (R/R) B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (B-NHL) patients, particularly those treated with rituximab for a short time. This prospective study aimed to assess the effectiveness and toxicity of CD20 CAR T cells in R/R B-NHL patients previously treated with rituximab.

      Methods

      The authors conducted a prospective, single-center phase I study on the effectiveness and toxicity of CD20 CAR T cells in rituximab-treated R/R B-NHL patients (no. ChiCTR2000036350). A total of 15 patients with R/R B-NHL were enrolled between November 21, 2017, and December 1, 2021.

      Results

      An overall response rate of 100% was shown in enrolled patients, with 12 (80%) achieving complete remission and three (20%) achieving partial remission for the best response. The median follow-up time was 12.4 months. Progression-free survival and overall survival were not yet reached by the data cutoff day. No patient developed grade 4 cytokine release syndrome, and only one patient had immune effector cell-associated neurotoxicity syndrome.

      Conclusions

      All enrolled B-NHL patients who were previously R/R to rituximab achieved different degrees of clinical response with tolerable toxicities. Notably, patients who had received rituximab within 3 months had a poorer prognosis.

      Key Words

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