Dynamic monitoring of circulating tumor DNA reveals outcomes and genomic alterations in patients with relapsed or refractory large B-cell lymphoma undergoing CAR T-cell therapy

March, 03, 2024 | Select Oncology Journal Articles


Over 50% of patients with relapsed or refractory large B-cell lymphoma (r/r LBCL) receiving CD19-targeted chimeric antigen receptor (CAR19) T-cell therapy fail to achieve durable remission. Early identification of relapse or progression remains a significant challenge. In this study, we prospectively investigate the prognostic value of dynamic circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) and track genetic evolution non-invasively, for the first time in an Asian population of r/r patients undergoing CAR19 T-cell therapy.


Longitudinal plasma samples were prospectively collected both before lymphodepletion and at multiple timepoints after CAR19 T-cell infusion. ctDNA was detected using a capture-based next-generation sequencing which has been validated in untreated LBCL.


The study enrolled 23 patients with r/r LBCL and collected a total of 101 ctDNA samples. Higher pretreatment ctDNA levels were associated with inferior progression-free survival (PFS) (p=0.031) and overall survival (OS) (p=0.023). Patients with undetectable ctDNA negative (ctDNA–) at day 14 (D14) achieved an impressive 3-month complete response rate of 77.8% vs 22.2% (p=0.015) in patients with detectable ctDNA positive (ctDNA+), similar results observed for D28. CtDNA– at D28 predicted significantly longer 1-year PFS (90.9% vs 27.3%; p=0.004) and OS (90.9% vs 49.1%; p=0.003) compared with patients who remained ctDNA+. Notably, it is the first time to report that shorter ctDNA fragments (<170 base pairs) were significantly associated with poorer PFS (p=0.031 for D14; p=0.002 for D28) and OS (p=0.013 for D14; p=0.008 for D28) in patients with LBCL receiving CAR T-cell therapy. Multiple mutated genes exhibited an elevated prevalence among patients with progressive disease, including TP53, IGLL5, PIM1, BTG1, CD79B, GNA13, and P2RY8. Notably, we observed a significant correlation between IGLL5 mutation and inferior PFS (p=0.008) and OS (p=0.014).


Our study highlights that dynamic ctDNA monitoring during CAR T-cell therapy can be a promising non-invasive method for early predicting treatment response and survival outcomes. Additionally, the ctDNA mutational profile provides novel insights into the mechanisms of tumor-intrinsic resistance to CAR19 T-cell therapy.

For Additional News from OncWeekly – Your Front Row Seat To The Future of Cancer Care –




Sign up for our emails

Trusted insights straight to your inbox and get the latest updates from OncWeekly

Privacy Policy