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CD19-directed chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy is a valuable new treatment option for patients with relapsed/refractory (R/R) B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The aim of this review is to give an overview of the pivotal phase I/II trials, emerging real-world evidence and ongoing trials. For decades, attempts at improvement of the poor prognosis of patients with R/R large B-cell lymphoma with new treatment regimens have been disappointing. Since the first report of CD19-directed CAR-T-cell therapy in 2010, three constructs have been tested in large phase I/II trials and resulted in 30-40% durable responses. This has led to Food and Drug Administration and European Medicines Agency approval for axicabtagene ciloleucel and tisagenlecleucel and filing of the biologics license application for lisocabtagene maraleucel. Emerging real-world evidence seems to confirm the promising results. However, considerable toxicity, mainly cytokine release syndrome and neurotoxicity limits their general applicability and not all patients intended to be treated can be bridged during the manufacturing period due to kinetics of the disease. Randomized phase III clinical trials are being conducted to test anti-CD19 CAR-T-cell therapy in the second-line and several phase II trials are aiming to improve efficacy and decrease toxicity. CD19-directed CAR-T-cell therapy has become standard of care for aggressive R/R diffuse large B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (DLBCL), but challenges still remain.


Marie José Kersten, Anne Mea Spanjaart, Catherine Thieblemont. CD19-directed CAR T-cell therapy in B-cell NHL. Current opinion in oncology. 2020 Sep;32(5):408-417

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PMID: 32740094

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