From the Journals

CAR T-cell therapies difficult to compare



One chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy may appear better than another, but confounding factors make it difficult to compare these therapies effectively, according to a review published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Caron A. Jacobson, MD, of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, reviewed results from three trials of CAR T-cell therapies in patients with B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (B-NHL).

She noted that cross-trial comparisons are always limited, but such comparisons of CAR T-cell therapies are hindered by several confounding factors.

Dr. Jacobson said differences in manufacturing procedures and turnaround time, differences in patient eligibility and management, and the complexity of CAR T-cell therapies make it difficult to compare results from three CAR-T trials in B-NHL:

• The ZUMA-1 trial (NCT02348216) of axicabtagene ciloleucel (axi-cel, Yescarta)
• The JULIET trial (NCT02445248) of tisagenlecleucel (t-cel, Kymriah)
• The TRANSCEND-NHL-001 trial (NCT02631044) of lisocabtagene maraleucel (liso-cel, JCAR017).

Looking at response rates alone, axi-cel appears the most promising. The overall response rate (ORR) was 82% with axi-cel, 75% with liso-cel, and 52% with t-cel.

When considering cytokine release syndrome (CRS), liso-cel appears the safest. The rate of CRS was 93% with axi-cel (13% grade 3 or higher), 58% with t-cel (22% grade 3 or higher), and 39% with liso-cel (1% grade 3 or higher).

However, as Dr. Jacobson pointed out, it’s impossible to know if these differences in efficacy and toxicity are “statistically meaningful.”

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