Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-modified T cells with anti-CD19 specificity are a highly effective novel immune therapy for relapsed/refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Cytokine release syndrome (CRS) is the most significant and life-threatening toxicity. To improve understanding of CRS, we measured cytokines and clinical biomarkers in 51 CTL019-treated patients. Peak levels of 24 cytokines, including IFNγ, IL6, sgp130, and sIL6R in the first month after infusion were highly associated with severe CRS. Using regression modeling, we could accurately predict which patients would develop severe CRS with a signature composed of three cytokines. Results validated in an independent cohort. Changes in serum biochemical markers, including C-reactive protein and ferritin, were associated with CRS but failed to predict development of severe CRS. These comprehensive profiling data provide novel insights into CRS biology, and importantly represent the first data that can accurately predict which patients have a high probability of becoming critically ill.
- Received January 8, 2016.
- Revision received April 5, 2016.
- Accepted April 6, 2016.
- Copyright ©2016, American Association for Cancer Research.