Axicabtagene ciloleucel is the first U.S. Food and Drug Administration–approved autologous anti-CD19 chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy for the treatment of patients with relapsed or refractory large B-cell lymphoma after ≥2 prior systemic therapies. Although axicabtagene ciloleucel is administered only at authorized treatment centers, community oncologists play a critical role in the CAR T-cell treatment journey, recognizing potentially eligible patients for referral and then, after treatment, closely collaborating with treatment centers to monitor and manage patients long term. ZUMA-1, the pivotal, multicenter, phase I/II study of 108 patients treated with axicabtagene ciloleucel, resulted in an objective response rate of 83%, including 58% complete responses. With a 27.1-month median follow-up, 39% of patients had ongoing responses. CAR T-cell therapy is associated with the potentially life-threatening adverse events (AEs) of cytokine release syndrome and neurologic events, which generally occur early after treatment. In ZUMA-1, cytokine release syndrome and neurologic events were generally reversible and grade ≥3 cytokine release syndrome and neurologic events occurred in 11% and 32% of patients, respectively. Frequent prolonged AEs included hypogammaglobulinemia, B-cell aplasia, and cytopenias requiring supportive care until recovery of hematopoietic function. Rate of treatment-related mortality was low, at <2%. With appropriate management of common AEs, axicabtagene ciloleucel offers the potential for long-term durable responses in patients who otherwise lack curative treatment options. Implications for Practice: Community oncologists should be familiar with key aspects of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell indications and eligibility to help recognize and refer potential patients for this paradigm-changing treatment option at the appropriate time during the disease course. To ensure optimal long-term outcomes for patients who have been treated with CAR T-cell therapy, oncologists must also be familiar with common prolonged AEs and their monitoring and management.
- Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma
- High-grade B-cell lymphoma
- Primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma
- Transformed follicular lymphoma