Cytokine release syndrome (CRS) is a systemic inflammatory response associated with chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapies. In severe cases, CRS can be associated with coagulopathy and hypofibrinogenemia. We present our global multicenter experience with CRS-associated coagulopathy after tisagenlecleucel therapy in 137 patients with relapsed or refractory B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia from the ELIANA and ENSIGN trials. These trials included clinical guidelines for fibrinogen replacement during CRS-associated coagulopathy. Hypofibrinogenemia requiring replacement was observed only in patients with severe CRS. A higher percentage of patients who required replacement were <10 years old, compared with those who did not require replacement. Twenty-three patients received replacement for hypofibrinogenemia (<1.5 g/L); 9 of them developed marked hypofibrinogenemia (<1 g/L). Very low fibrinogen levels (<1 g/L) were documented in patients before maximal CRS (n = 1), during maximal CRS (n = 7), and at CRS improvement (n = 1). Although hypofibrinogenemia was the most clinically significant coagulopathy, some patients also developed prolonged prothrombin time and activated partial thromboplastin time and increased international normalized ratio, further increasing the risk of bleeding. Hypofibrinogenemia was effectively managed using fibrinogen concentrate or cryoprecipitate replacement; severe (grade 4) bleeding events were rare (n = 2). CRS-associated coagulopathy with hypofibrinogenemia is manageable according to empiric guidelines of fibrinogen replacement for CAR-T trials. Fibrinogen concentrate should be used when cryoprecipitate is not reliably available. Monitoring fibrinogen levels in patients with moderate or severe CRS is essential for avoiding potentially fatal bleeding events. These trials were registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT02435849 and #NCT02228096.
© 2021 by The American Society of Hematology.