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Characterization of the input material quality for the production of tisagenlecleucel by multiparameter flow cytometry and its relation to the clinical outcome

Publication at Faculty of Science, First Faculty of Medicine, Second Faculty of Medicine |


Tisagenlecleucel (tisa-cel) is a CD19(-)specific CAR-T cell product approved for the treatment of relapsed/refractory (r/r) DLBCL or B-ALL. We have followed a group of patients diagnosed with childhood B-ALL (n = 5), adult B-ALL (n = 2), and DLBCL (n = 25) who were treated with tisa-cel under non-clinical trial conditions.

The goal was to determine how the intensive pretreatment of patients affects the produced CAR-T cells, their in vivo expansion, and the outcome of the therapy. Multiparametric flow cytometry was used to analyze the material used for manufacturing CAR-T cells (apheresis), the CAR-T cell product itself, and blood samples obtained at three timepoints after administration.

We present the analysis of memory phenotype of CD4/CD8 CAR-T lymphocytes (CD45RA, CD62L, CD27, CD28) and the expression of inhibitory receptors (PD-1, TIGIT). In addition, we show its relation to the patients' clinical characteristics, such as tumor burden and sensitivity to prior therapies.

Patients who responded to therapy had a higher percentage of CD8(+)CD45RA(+)CD27(+) T cells in the apheresis, although not in the produced CAR-Ts. Patients with primary refractory aggressive B-cell lymphomas had the poorest outcomes which was characterized by undetectable CAR-T cell expansion in vivo.

No clear correlation of the outcome with the immunophenotypes of CAR-Ts was observed. Our results suggest that an important parameter predicting therapy efficacy is CAR-Ts' level of expansion in vivo but not the immunophenotype.

After CAR-T cells' administration, measurements at several timepoints accurately detect their proliferation intensity in vivo. The outcome of CAR-T cell therapy largely depends on biological characteristics of the tumors rather than on the immunophenotype of produced CAR-Ts.