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Ping Li, Speaker at Oncology Conference
Tongji University, China


Chimeric antigen receptor T (CAR-T) cell therapy has emerged as a novel treatment modality for B-cell malignancies. CD19-specific CAR-T cells induce high rates of initial response among patients with relapsed B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). However, cytokine release syndrome (CRS) is the most common and severe toxicities of CAR T-cell therapy for ALL, and clinical experience is limited. Here, we describe the clinical presentation and management of 30 patients who presented with CRS following CAR-T cell therapy for relapsed/refractory ALL at our hospital. 12 of the 30 patients (40%) developed grade 1-2 CRS, 14 patients (46.7%) presented with grade 3-4 CRS and 2 patients (6.7%) died of grade 5 CRS. Compared with grade 1-2 CRS, grade 3-4 CRS correlated negatively with overall survival and progression-free survival (P =0.02). We found that higher ferritin levels and percentages of CD19 positive cells in blood lymphocytes cells at time of CAR-T cell infusion were associated with more severe CRS. Grade 3-4 neurotoxicity was frequently present in patients with grade ?3 CRS. We also observed that the organ disfunctions occurred in sequence after fever onset during the period of CRS. Neurotoxicity, cardiovascular disfunction and cytopenia in some patients manifest as biphasic. Compared to use of tocilizumab for CRS? grade 3, early intervention of tocilizumab for hyperpyrexia duration ? 6h alleviates the severity of CRS, and no patients died of severe CRS since this management approach was performed. As use of novel CAR-T cell therapy expands, the data from our clinical experience may help others anticipated the clinical course of organ function and manage CRS in CAR-T therapy