CD19-targeting CAR T cell immunotherapy outcomes correlate with genomic modification by vector integration

J Clin Invest. 2020 Feb 3;130(2):673-685. doi: 10.1172/JCI130144.


Chimeric antigen receptor-engineered T cells targeting CD19 (CART19) provide an effective treatment for pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia but are less effective for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), focusing attention on improving efficacy. CART19 harbor an engineered receptor, which is delivered through lentiviral vector integration, thereby marking cell lineages and modifying the cellular genome by insertional mutagenesis. We recently reported that vector integration within the host TET2 gene was associated with CLL remission. Here, we investigated clonal population structure and therapeutic outcomes in another 39 patients by high-throughput sequencing of vector-integration sites. Genes at integration sites enriched in responders were commonly found in cell-signaling and chromatin modification pathways, suggesting that insertional mutagenesis in these genes promoted therapeutic T cell proliferation. We also developed a multivariate model based on integration-site distributions and found that data from preinfusion products forecasted response in CLL successfully in discovery and validation cohorts and, in day 28 samples, reported responders to CLL therapy with high accuracy. These data clarify how insertional mutagenesis can modulate cell proliferation in CART19 therapy and how data on integration-site distributions can be linked to treatment outcomes.

Keywords: Immunotherapy; Microbiology.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, CD19 / genetics
  • Antigens, CD19 / immunology*
  • Female
  • Genetic Vectors*
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy, Adoptive*
  • Leukemia, Lymphocytic, Chronic, B-Cell* / genetics
  • Leukemia, Lymphocytic, Chronic, B-Cell* / immunology
  • Leukemia, Lymphocytic, Chronic, B-Cell* / pathology
  • Leukemia, Lymphocytic, Chronic, B-Cell* / therapy
  • Male
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell* / genetics
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell* / immunology


  • Antigens, CD19
  • CTL019 chimeric antigen receptor
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell
  • tisagenlecleucel