Optimization of Metabolic Tumor Volume as a Prognostic Marker in CAR T-Cell Therapy for Aggressive Large B-cell NHL

Clin Lymphoma Myeloma Leuk. 2024 Feb;24(2):83-93. doi: 10.1016/j.clml.2023.09.005. Epub 2023 Sep 16.


Background: CD19-targeted chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy has become a standard of care in relapsed/refractory (R/R) aggressive large B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas (B-NHL) though the majority of recipients do not receive durable disease benefit, prompting the need to better define risk factors for relapse/progression.

Objectives: We performed a single-center, retrospective analysis of patients treated with commercial CAR T-cell therapy to evaluate the impact of tumor burden, as measured by whole-body metabolic tumor volume (MTV) from 18F fluorodeoxyglucose PET imaging, on treatment outcomes.

Study design: Sixty-one patients treated with CAR T-cell therapy for R/R B-NHL between May 2016 and November 2021 were included.

Results: Using a receiver operating characteristic curve-based MTV optimization cutoff of 450 mL, 1-year progression-free survival (PFS) was 22% for high MTV versus 54% for low MTV (P < .01), and 1-year overall survival (OS) was 37% and 73%, respectively (P = .01). In a subset of 46 patients, residual MTV of less than 106 mL at the day 30 (D30) disease assessment was associated with significantly improved outcomes (1-year OS 85% vs. 13%, P < .01). Incorporation of pretreatment MTV to the International Prognostic Index (IPI) scoring system significantly distinguished 2-year PFS and OS outcomes by 3 risk groups.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that both pretreatment and D30 MTV are predictive of outcomes among R/R B-NHL patients treated with CAR T-cell therapy. These data indicate that efforts to reduce pretreatment tumor burden may improve longitudinal clinical outcomes. Furthermore, D30 postinfusion MTV quantification may aid clinicians in optimally identifying patients at high-risk for progression, and in whom closer disease monitoring should be considered. MTV also adds prognostic value to patients with high-risk IPI and holds promise for incorporation in novel risk scoring systems which can identify patients prior to CAR T-cell therapy at highest risk of adverse outcomes.

Keywords: Aggressive large B cell lymphoma; CAR T cell therapy outcomes; Chimeric antigen receptor T cell therapy; Lymphoma risk prognostication.

MeSH terms

  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy, Adoptive / adverse effects
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse* / diagnosis
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse* / metabolism
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse* / therapy
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tumor Burden


  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18