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Tecartus Induces Responses in Real-World Population of High-Risk R/R MCL

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Tecartus is safe and effective in real-world patients with relapsed/refractory mantle cell lymphoma, regardless of the presence of high-risk features.

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Tecartus was safe and effective in a real-world population of patients with high-risk, relapsed/refractory mantle cell lymphoma.

For patients with relapsed/refractory mantle cell lymphoma (MCL), regardless of the presence of high-risk features, Tecartus (brexucabtagene autoleucel) is safe and effective, according to findings from a subgroup analysis that were presented during the 2023 ASH Annual Meeting. These findings, which consisted of data from patients in the real-word setting and not on a clinical trial, were consistent with those observed in patients who received the agent in the pivotal phase 2 ZUMA-2 trial.

At a median follow-up of 12.3 months, the overall response rates (ORR; patients whose disease responded partially or completely to treatment) and complete response (CR; percentage of patients whose disease completely disappears) rates were consistent across patients in all observed high-risk subgroups. In the overall population, the ORR was 91%, with an 81% CR rate. In patients with TP53/17p deletions, no TP53/17p deletions, a Ki-67 proliferation index of at least 50%, a Ki-67 proliferation index of less than 50%, ZUMA-2 trial eligibility and ZUMA-2 trial ineligibility, the ORRs were 95%, 90%, 92%, 93%, 93% and 90%, respectively, and the CR rates were 84%, 81%, 83%, 84%, 79% and 84%, respectively.

“In this Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR) registry analysis, patients with high-risk features, including TP53 deletions and a high Ki-67 (proliferation index), did not have significant differences in efficacy outcomes compared with patients without these high-risk features,” lead study author Dr. Swetha Kambhampati, an assistant professor in the division of lymphoma, department of hematology and hematopoietic cell transplantation at City of Hope in Duarte, California, stated during a presentation of the data. “In the univariate analysis, patients without TP53 deletions did have a numerically longer (median) overall survival (OS; time from treatment until death of any cayse) than those with TP53 deletions, but this wasn’t statistically significant.”

Of note, when the difference between two data points is not statistically significant, that means that researchers cannot definitively say that one treatment is better than the other.

Patients with relapsed/refractory MCL and high-risk features, such as TP53 mutations, TP53 deletions or a high Ki-67 proliferation index, have historically had limited treatment options. The CAR-T cell therapy, Tecartus, received FDA approval in 2020 for adult patients with relapsed/refractory MCL based on findings from ZUMA-2.A three-year follow-up analysis of the study demonstrated comparable outcomes with Tecartus across prespecified high-risk subgroups.

This real-world analysis describes outcomes with Tecartus stratified by high-risk features, such as TP53 deletions, 17p deletions, Ki-67 proliferation index and ZUMA-2 trial eligibility.

Between 2020 and 2022, 499 adult patients who were receiving Tecartus for relapsed/refractory MCL across 85 centers in the United States were prospectively enrolled in the CIBMTR registry. Of these patients, 456 from 84 treatment centers were included in this real-world study. Forty-three patients were excluded because of a prior history of non-transplant cellular therapy (seven patients), a lack of efficacy and/or safety follow-up data (15 patients) or missing data (21 patients).

Of the evaluable patients, 42% had TP53 or 17p deletions (44 patients) and/or a Ki-67 proliferation index of at least 50% (146 patients). Furthermore, 183 patients had no TP53 or 17p deletions and 111 patients had a Ki-67 proliferation index of less than 50%. Moreover, 57% of patients would not have met the ZUMA-2 eligibility criteria, mostly because of the presence of comorbidities prior to Tecartus infusion.

In the overall population, the median age was 67 and 61% of patients were at least 65. Six percent of patients had an ECOG performance status (PS) of 2 or higher (they could not perform all daily tasks independently) prior to Tecartus infusion, 76% of patients had clinically significant comorbidities and 91%, 47% and 71% of patients had stage 3 to 4 disease at diagnosis, elevated lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) levels at diagnosis and were chemoresistant prior to Tecartus infusion, respectively. Patients had received a median of three prior lines of therapy, and 32%, 87% and 44% of patients had received prior hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT), prior BTK inhibitors or any type of bridging therapy. Furthermore, 9% of patients received planned outpatient Tecartus infusion.

Compared with the overall population, the cohort of patients with TP53 or 17p deletions had fewer patients over the age of 65 (41%), a higher proportion of patients who were chemoresistant prior to Tecartus infusion (81%), and a lower proportion of patients who had received prior HCT (12%). Compared with the overall population, the cohort of patients with a Ki-67 proliferation index of at least 50% had lower proportions of patients with elevated LDH levels at diagnosis (41%), prior BTK inhibitor exposure (81%) and bridging therapy (37%). Compared with the overall population, the cohort of patients who would have been ineligible for enrollment in ZUMA-2 had higher proportions of patients with an ECOG PS of 2 or higher (10%), clinically significant comorbidities (87%) and chemoresistance prior to Tecartus infusion (76%), as well as a lower proportion of patients with prior exposure to BTK inhibitors (78%).

In the overall population, the median duration of response (DOR) was not reached. The estimated six- and 12-month DOR rates in patients who achieved a best response of CR were 83% and 69%, respectively. In all responders, these rates were 78% and 65%, respectively.

Among all 456 patients evaluable for survival, the median OS was not reached, and the estimated six- and 12-month OS rates were 86% and 75%, respectively. Among all 442 progression-free survival (PFS; the time a patient lives without their disease spreading or worsening)–evaluable patients, the median PFS was 19.3 months and the estimated six- and 12-month PFS rates were 75% and 61%, respectively. In comparison, the 12-month PFS and OS rates in the primary analysis of ZUMA-2 were 61% and 83%, respectively.

The six- and 12-month cumulative incidence rates of relapse or progressive disease (PD) were 19% and 30%, respectively, and the median time to relapse or PD among the 442 evaluable patients was 27.5 months.

Univariate analyses revealed no statistically significant differences in OS or PFS at any time point between any high-risk patient subgroups. In patients with TP53 or 17p deletions, the 12-month OS and PFS rates were 57% and 53%, respectively. In patients without TP53 or 17p deletions, the 12-month OS and PFS rates were 76% and 60%, respectively.

In patients with a Ki-67 proliferation index of at least 50%, the 12-month OS and PFS rates were 74% and 63%, respectively. In patients with a Ki-67 proliferation index of less than 50%, the 12-month OS and PFS rates were 76% and 57%, respectively.

In patients who would have been eligible for enrollment in ZUMA-2, the 12-month OS and PFS rates were 75% and 66%, respectively. In patients who would not have met the eligibility criteria for enrollment in ZUMA-2, the 12-month OS and PFS rates were 75% and 58%, respectively.

Safety outcomes with Tecartus did not vary significantly across high-risk subgroups. In the overall population, grade 3 or higher cytokine release syndrome (CRS; inflammatory markers known as cytokines rush into the blood), grade 3 or higher immune effector cell–associated neurotoxicity syndrome (ICANS), prolonged neutropenia, and prolonged thrombocytopenia were observed in 11%, 29%, 15% and 19% of patients, respectively. When adverse effects were stratified by patients with TP53 or 17p deletions, those with no TP53 or 17p deletions, those with a Ki-67 proliferation index of at least 50%, those with a Ki-67 proliferation index of less than 50%, those who met the ZUMA-2 eligibility criteria and those who did not meet the ZUMA-2 eligibility criteria, grade 3 or higher CRS was observed in 9%, 9%, 10%, 8%, 11% and 10% of patients, respectively; grade 3 or higher ICANS was observed in 37%, 30%, 23%, 28%, 27% and 31% of patients, respectively; prolonged neutropenia was observed in 25%, 13%, 14%, 12%, 15% and 16% of patients, respectively; and prolonged thrombocytopenia was observed in 28%, 16%, 20%, 19%, 23% and 14% of patients, respectively. Non-relapse mortality (NRM) rates were consistent across all subgroups, and the one-year NRM rate was 8%.

Upon multivariable adjustment, all safety outcomes were comparable between patients with a Ki-67 proliferation index of at least 50% and those with a Ki-67 proliferation index of less than 50%. The incidence of grade 3 or higher CRS, grade 3 or higher ICANS, infections, and NRM were comparable between patients with and without TP53 or 17p deletions.

Kambhampati noted in the presentation that limitations of this study include its short duration of follow-up and missing granular data regarding high-risk features, such as Mantle Cell Lymphoma International Prognostic Index score at diagnosis, complex karyotype, cytology and level of p53 expression, none of which were captured in the CIBMTR registry. Another limitation is the lack of information regarding TP53 mutations and aberrations, as the registry captured only TP53 deletion status.

These findings warrant further follow-up of the patients in this study with high-risk features.

“This is the largest real-world Tecartus study to date, and further supports the use of Tecartus across a diverse relapsed MCL population, including those with high-risk features, a patient population with limited treatment options and dire prognosis with standard therapies,” Kambhampati concluded.

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