Third-Party BK Virus-Specific Cytotoxic T Lymphocyte Therapy for Hemorrhagic Cystitis Following Allotransplantation

J Clin Oncol. 2021 Aug 20;39(24):2710-2719. doi: 10.1200/JCO.20.02608. Epub 2021 Apr 30.


Purpose: BK virus-associated hemorrhagic cystitis (BKV-HC) is a common complication of allogenic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (AHSCT), particularly in recipients of alternative donor transplants, which are being performed in increasing numbers. BKV-HC typically results in painful hematuria, urinary obstruction, and renal dysfunction, without a definitive therapeutic option.

Methods: We performed a clinical trial ( identifier: NCT02479698) to assess the feasibility, safety, and efficacy of administering most closely HLA-matched third-party BKV-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs), generated from 26 healthy donors and banked for off-the-shelf use. The cells were infused into 59 patients who developed BKV-HC following AHSCT. Comprehensive clinical assessments and correlative studies were performed.

Results: Response to BKV-CTL infusion was rapid; the day 14 overall response rate was 67.7% (40 of 59 evaluable patients), which increased to 81.6% among evaluable patients at day 45 (40 of 49 evaluable patients). No patient lost a previously achieved response. There were no cases of de novo grade 3 or 4 graft-versus-host disease, graft failure, or infusion-related toxicities. BKV-CTLs were identified in patient blood samples up to 3 months postinfusion and their in vivo expansion predicted for clinical response. A matched-pair analysis revealed that, compared with standard of care, after accounting for prognostic covariate effects, treatment with BKV-CTLs resulted in higher probabilities of response at all follow-up timepoints as well as significantly lower transfusion requirement.

Conclusion: Off-the-shelf BKV-CTLs are a safe and effective therapy for the management of patients with BKV-HC after AHSCT.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cystitis / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Hemorrhagic Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / metabolism*
  • Vascularized Composite Allotransplantation / adverse effects*
  • Young Adult

Associated data