Assessing CAR T-Cell Therapy Response Using Genome-Wide Sequencing of Cell-Free DNA in Patients With B-Cell Lymphomas

Aaron M. Goodman, Kimberly A. Holden, Ah Reum Jeong, Lisa Kim, Kerry D. Fitzgerald, Eyad Almasri, Graham McLennan, Marcia Eisenberg, Amin H. Jahromi, Carl Hoh, Michael Hurley, Carolyn Mulroney, Dimitrios Tzachanis, Edward D. Ball, Taylor J. Jensen, Razelle Kurzrock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Methods that enable monitoring of therapeutic efficacy of autologous chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy will be clinically useful. The aim of this study is to demonstrate the feasibility of blood-derived cell-free DNA (cfDNA) to predict CAR T-cell therapy response in patients with refractory B-cell lymphomas. Whole blood was collected before and throughout CAR T-cell therapy until day 154. Low-coverage (∼0.4×), genome-wide cfDNA sequencing, similar to that established for noninvasive prenatal testing, was performed. The genomic instability number (GIN) was used to quantify plasma copy number alteration level. Twelve patients were enrolled. Seven (58%) patients achieved a complete response (CR); 2 (25%), a partial response. Median progression-free survival was 99 days; median overall survival was not reached (median follow-up, 247 days). Altogether, 127 blood samples were analyzed (median, 10 samples/patient [range 8-13]). All 5 patients who remained in CR at the time of last measurement had GIN <170 (threshold). Two patients who attained CR, but later relapsed, and all but one patient who had best response other than CR had last GIN measurement of >170. In 5 of 6 patients with relapsed or progressive disease, increasing GIN was observed before the diagnosis by imaging. The abundance of CAR T-cell construct (absolute number of construct copies relative to the number of human genome equivalents) also showed a trend to correlate with outcome (day 10, P = .052). These data describe a proof-of-concept for the use of multiple liquid biopsy technologies to monitor therapeutic response in B-cell lymphoma patients receiving CAR T-cell therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30.e1-30.e7
JournalTransplantation and Cellular Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • CAR T-cell therapy
  • Cell-free DNA
  • Cellular therapy
  • Tumor marker


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