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Two cases of severe pulmonary toxicity from highly active mesothelin-directed CAR T cells.

Brogdon, Jennifer, Engels, Boris, Mansfield, Keith, Zhao, Linlin, Granda, Brian, Taraszka, John, Ramones, Melissa and Xu, Fangmin (2023) Two cases of severe pulmonary toxicity from highly active mesothelin-directed CAR T cells. Molecular therapy : the journal of the American Society of Gene Therapy, 31 (8). pp. 2309-2325. ISSN 1525-0024


Multiple clinical studies have treated mesothelin (MSLN)-positive solid tumors by administering MSLN-directed chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells. Although these products are generally safe, efficacy is limited. Therefore, we generated and characterized a potent, fully human anti-MSLN CAR. In a phase 1 dose-escalation study of patients with solid tumors, we observed two cases of severe pulmonary toxicity following intravenous infusion of this product in the high-dose cohort (1-3 × 108 T cells per m2). Both patients demonstrated progressive hypoxemia within 48 h of infusion with clinical and laboratory findings consistent with cytokine release syndrome. One patient ultimately progressed to grade 5 respiratory failure. An autopsy revealed acute lung injury, extensive T cell infiltration, and accumulation of CAR T cells in the lungs. RNA and protein detection techniques confirmed low levels of MSLN expression by benign pulmonary epithelial cells in affected lung and lung samples obtained from other inflammatory or fibrotic conditions, indicating that pulmonary pneumocyte and not pleural expression of mesothelin may lead to dose-limiting toxicity. We suggest patient enrollment criteria and dosing regimens of MSLN-directed therapies consider the possibility of dynamic expression of mesothelin in benign lung with a special concern for patients with underlying inflammatory or fibrotic conditions.

Item Type: Article
Date Deposited: 24 Nov 2023 00:45
Last Modified: 24 Nov 2023 00:45