Background: KMT2A-rearranged acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in infants is an aggressive disease with 3-year event-free survival below 40%. Most relapses occur during treatment, with two thirds occurring within 1 year and 90% within 2 years after diagnosis. Outcomes have not improved in recent decades despite intensification of chemotherapy.
Methods: We studied the safety and efficacy of blinatumomab, a bispecific T-cell engager molecule targeting CD19, in infants with KMT2A-rearranged ALL. Thirty patients younger than 1 year of age with newly diagnosed KMT2A-rearranged ALL were given the chemotherapy used in the Interfant-06 trial with the addition of one postinduction course of blinatumomab (15 μg per square meter of body-surface area per day; 28-day continuous infusion). The primary end point was clinically relevant toxic effects, defined as any toxic effect that was possibly or definitely attributable to blinatumomab and resulted in permanent discontinuation of blinatumomab or death. Minimal residual disease (MRD) was measured by polymerase chain reaction. Data on adverse events were collected. Outcome data were compared with historical control data from the Interfant-06 trial.
Results: The median follow-up was 26.3 months (range, 3.9 to 48.2). All 30 patients received the full course of blinatumomab. No toxic effects meeting the definition of the primary end point occurred. Ten serious adverse events were reported (fever [4 events], infection , hypertension , and vomiting ). The toxic-effects profile was consistent with that reported in older patients. A total of 28 patients (93%) either were MRD-negative (16 patients) or had low levels of MRD (<5×10-4 [i.e., <5 leukemic cells per 10,000 normal cells], 12 patients) after the blinatumomab infusion. All the patients who continued chemotherapy became MRD-negative during further treatment. Two-year disease-free survival was 81.6% in our study (95% confidence interval [CI], 60.8 to 92.0), as compared with 49.4% (95% CI, 42.5 to 56.0) in the Interfant-06 trial; the corresponding values for overall survival were 93.3% (95% CI, 75.9 to 98.3) and 65.8% (95% CI, 58.9 to 71.8).
Conclusions: Blinatumomab added to Interfant-06 chemotherapy appeared to be safe and had a high level of efficacy in infants with newly diagnosed KMT2A-rearranged ALL as compared with historical controls from the Interfant-06 trial. (Funded by the Princess Máxima Center Foundation and others; EudraCT number, 2016-004674-17.).
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