Long-Term Follow-up of CD19 CAR Therapy in Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

N Engl J Med. 2018 Feb 1;378(5):449-459. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1709919.


Background: CD19-specific chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells induce high rates of initial response among patients with relapsed B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and long-term remissions in a subgroup of patients.

Methods: We conducted a phase 1 trial involving adults with relapsed B-cell ALL who received an infusion of autologous T cells expressing the 19-28z CAR at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). Safety and long-term outcomes were assessed, as were their associations with demographic, clinical, and disease characteristics.

Results: A total of 53 adults received 19-28z CAR T cells that were manufactured at MSKCC. After infusion, severe cytokine release syndrome occurred in 14 of 53 patients (26%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 15 to 40); 1 patient died. Complete remission was observed in 83% of the patients. At a median follow-up of 29 months (range, 1 to 65), the median event-free survival was 6.1 months (95% CI, 5.0 to 11.5), and the median overall survival was 12.9 months (95% CI, 8.7 to 23.4). Patients with a low disease burden (<5% bone marrow blasts) before treatment had markedly enhanced remission duration and survival, with a median event-free survival of 10.6 months (95% CI, 5.9 to not reached) and a median overall survival of 20.1 months (95% CI, 8.7 to not reached). Patients with a higher burden of disease (≥5% bone marrow blasts or extramedullary disease) had a greater incidence of the cytokine release syndrome and neurotoxic events and shorter long-term survival than did patients with a low disease burden.

Conclusions: In the entire cohort, the median overall survival was 12.9 months. Among patients with a low disease burden, the median overall survival was 20.1 months and was accompanied by a markedly lower incidence of the cytokine release syndrome and neurotoxic events after 19-28z CAR T-cell infusion than was observed among patients with a higher disease burden. (Funded by the Commonwealth Foundation for Cancer Research and others; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01044069 .).

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase I
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / drug therapy*
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / mortality
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / therapeutic use*
  • Recurrence
  • Remission Induction
  • Survival Analysis
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • CD19-specific chimeric antigen receptor
  • Cytokines
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01044069
  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01044069