Comparison of non-myeloablative lymphodepleting preconditioning regimens in patients undergoing adoptive T cell therapy

Abraham Nissani, Shaked Lev-Ari, Tomer Meirson, Elad Jacoby, Nethanel Asher, Guy Ben-Betzalel, Orit Itzhaki, Ronnie Shapira-Frommer, Jacob Schachter, Gal Markel, Michal J. Besser

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28 Scopus citations


Background Adoptive cell therapy with T cells genetically engineered to express a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR-T) or tumor-infiltrating T lymphocytes (TIL) demonstrates impressive clinical results in patients with cancer. Lymphodepleting preconditioning prior to cell infusion is an integral part of all adoptive T cell therapies. However, to date, there is no standardization and no data comparing different non-myeloablative (NMA) regimens. Methods In this study, we compared NMA therapies with different doses of cyclophosphamide or total body irradiation (TBI) in combination with fludarabine and evaluated bone marrow suppression and recovery, cytokine serum levels, clinical response and adverse events. Results We demonstrate that a cumulative dose of 120 mg/kg cyclophosphamide and 125 mg/m 2 fludarabine (120Cy/125Flu) and 60Cy/125Flu preconditioning were equally efficient in achieving deep lymphopenia and neutropenia in patients with metastatic melanoma, whereas absolute lymphocyte counts (ALCs) and absolute neutrophil counts were significantly higher following 200 cGyTBI/75Flu-induced NMA. Thrombocytopenia was most profound in 120Cy/125Flu patients. 30Cy/75Flu-induced preconditioning in patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia resulted in a minor ALC decrease, had no impact on platelet counts and did not yield deep neutropenia. Following cell infusion, 120Cy/125Flu patients with objective tumor response had significantly higher ALC and significant lower inflammatory indexes, such as neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) and platelet-to-lymphocyte ratio (PLR). Receiver-operating characteristics curve analysis 7 days after cell infusion was performed to determine the cut-offs, which distinguish between responding and non-responding patients in the 120Cy/125Flu cohort. NLR≤1.79 and PLR≤32.7 were associated with clinical response and overall survival. Cytokine serum levels did not associate with clinical response in patients with TIL. Patients in the 120Cy/125Flu cohort developed significantly more acute NMA-related adverse events, including thrombocytopenia, febrile neutropenia and cardiotoxicity, and stayed significantly longer in hospital compared with the 60Cy/125Flu and TBI/75Flu cohorts. Conclusions Bone marrow depletion and recovery were equally affected by 120Cy/125Flu and 60Cy/125Flu preconditioning; however, toxicity and consequently duration of hospitalization were significantly lower in the 60Cy/125Flu cohort. Patients in the 30Cy/75Flu and TBI/75Flu groups rarely developed NMA-induced adverse events; however, both regimens were not efficient in achieving deep bone marrow suppression. Among the regimens, 60Cy/125Flu preconditioning seems to achieve maximum effect with minimum toxicity.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere001743
JournalJournal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer
Issue number5
StatePublished - 14 May 2021

Bibliographical note

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© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2021.


  • adoptive
  • chimeric antigen
  • clinical trials
  • immunotherapy
  • lymphocytes
  • phase II as topic
  • receptors
  • tumor-infiltrating


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