WARNING: CYTOKINE RELEASE SYNDROME and NEUROLOGICAL TOXICITIES
Mechanism of Action
KYMRIAH MOA Video
Watch this video to learn more about the KYMRIAH® (tisagenlecleucel) mechanism of action.
KYMRIAH is an individualized therapy that reprograms a patient's own T cells with a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) containing a 4-1BB costimulatory domain. The 4-1BB costimulatory domain is responsible for enhancing the expansion and persistence of KYMRIAH. The KYMRIAH CAR also contains a CD3ζ intracellular signaling domain, which is critical for initiating T-cell activation and antitumor activity.1
Costimulatory domains vary by CARs:
- Enhances early expansion and endurance in vivo and in vitro2,3
- Induces central memory T cell differentiation in vitro3,4:
- Improves persistence of the CAR-T cells1,5
- Enhances early and rapid expansion in vivo and in vitro2,6
- Correlated with effector memory T cell differentiation in vitro3:
—Limited long-term persistence
References: 1. Kymriah [prescribing information]. East Hanover, NJ: Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp; 2021. 2. Milone MC, Fish JD, Carpenito C, et al. Chimeric receptors containing CD137 signal transduction domains mediate enhanced survival of T cells and increased antileukemic efficacy in vivo. Mol Ther. 2009;17(8):1453-1464. 3. Kawalekar OU, O'Connor RS, Fraietta JA. et al. Distinct signaling of coreceptors regulates specific metabolism pathways and impacts memory development in CAR T cells. Immunity. 2016;44(2):380-390. 4. Kalos M, Levine BL, Porter DL, et al. T cells with chimeric antigen receptors have potent antitumor effects and can establish memory in patients with advanced leukemia. Sci Transl Med. 2011;3(95):95ra73. doi:10.1126/scitranslmed.3002842. 5. Long AH, Haso WM, Shem JF, et al. 4-1BB costimulation ameliorates T cell exhaustion induced by tonic signaling of chimeric antigen receptors. Nat Med. 2015;21(6):581-590. 6. Zhao Z, Condomines M, van der Stegen SJC, et al. Structural design of engineered costimulation determines tumor rejectlon kinetics and persistence of CAR T cells. Cancer Cell. 2015;28(4):415-428.
KYMRIAH is a CD19-directed genetically modified autologous T cell immunotherapy indicated for the treatment of patients up to 25 years of age with B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) that is refractory or in second or later relapse.
Important Safety Information for KYMRIAH® (tisagenlecleucel)
Warnings and Precautions
Cytokine Release Syndrome: CRS, including fatal or life-threatening reactions, occurred following treatment with KYMRIAH. CRS occurred in 61 (77%) of the 79 patients with relapsed or refractory (r/r) ALL receiving KYMRIAH, including ≥ grade 3 (Penn Grading System) in 48% of patients. The median times to onset and resolution of CRS for patients with r/r ALL were 3 days (range: 1-22; 1 patient with onset after Day 10) and 8 days (range: 1-36), respectively.
Of the 61 patients with r/r ALL who had CRS, 31 (51%) received tocilizumab; 10 (16%) patients received 2 doses of tocilizumab, 3 (5%) patients received 3 doses of tocilizumab, and 17 (28%) patients received addition of corticosteroids (eg, methylprednisolone).
Two deaths occurred in patients with r/r ALL within 30 days of KYMRIAH infusion. One patient died with CRS and progressive leukemia, and 1 patient had resolving CRS with abdominal compartment syndrome, coagulopathy, and renal failure when an intracranial hemorrhage occurred. Among patients with r/r ALL who had CRS, key manifestations included fever (93%), hypotension (69%), hypoxia (57%), and tachycardia (26%). CRS may be associated with hepatic, renal, and cardiac dysfunction; and coagulopathy.
Delay KYMRIAH infusion after lymphodepleting chemotherapy if patient has unresolved serious adverse reactions from preceding chemotherapies including pulmonary toxicity, cardiac toxicity, or hypotension, active uncontrolled infection, active graft vs host disease, or worsening of leukemia burden.
Ensure at least 2 doses of tocilizumab are available on-site prior to KYMRIAH infusion. Monitor patients for signs or symptoms of CRS 2 to 3 times during the first week, then for at least 4 weeks after treatment. Counsel patients to remain within proximity of the health care facility for at least 4 weeks following infusion, and seek immediate medical attention should signs or symptoms of CRS occur at any time. At the first sign of CRS, immediately evaluate the patient for hospitalization and institute treatment with supportive care, tocilizumab, and/or corticosteroids as indicated.
Risk factors for severe CRS are high pre-infusion tumor burden (>50% blasts in bone marrow), uncontrolled or accelerating tumor burden following lymphodepleting chemotherapy, active infections, and/or inflammatory processes.
Neurological Toxicities: Neurological toxicities, including severe or life-threatening reactions, occurred in 56 (71%) of the 79 patients with r/r ALL following treatment with KYMRIAH including ≥ grade 3 in 22% of patients. Among patients who had a neurological toxicity, 83% occurred within 8 weeks after KYMRIAH infusion. Median time to the first event was 6 days from infusion (range: 1-301), and the median duration was 7 days. Resolution occurred within 3 weeks in 71% of patients. Encephalopathy lasting up to 50 days was noted. The onset of neurological toxicity can be concurrent with CRS, following resolution of CRS, or in the absence of CRS.
The most common neurological toxicities observed in r/r ALL studies included headache (35%), encephalopathy (30%), delirium (19%), anxiety (16%), sleep disorders (11%), dizziness (5%), tremor (8%), and peripheral neuropathy (4%). Other manifestations included seizures and aphasia.
Monitor patients for neurological events, specifically 2 to 3 times during the first week following KYMRIAH infusion and exclude other causes for neurological symptoms. Provide supportive care as needed for KYMRIAH-associated neurological events.
KYMRIAH REMS to Mitigate CRS and Neurological Toxicities: Because of the risk of CRS and neurological toxicities, KYMRIAH is available only through a restricted program under a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) called the KYMRIAH REMS. Further information is available at www.kymriah-rems.com or 1-844-4KYMRIAH (1-844-459-6742).
Hypersensitivity Reactions: Allergic reactions may occur with KYMRIAH. Serious hypersensitivity reactions, including anaphylaxis, may be due to dimethyl sulfoxide or dextran 40 in KYMRIAH. Observe patients for hypersensitivity reactions during the infusion.
Serious Infections: Infections, including life-threatening or fatal infections, occurred in 125 (64%) of 194 patients after KYMRIAH infusion. Seventy-seven patients (40%) experienced ≥ grade 3 infections, including fatal infections in 2 patients (3%) with r/r ALL after KYMRIAH infusion. Prior to KYMRIAH infusion, infection prophylaxis should follow local guidelines. Patients with active uncontrolled infection should not start KYMRIAH treatment until the infection is resolved. Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of infection after treatment with KYMRIAH and treat appropriately.
Febrile neutropenia (≥ grade 3) was also observed in 34% of patients with r/r ALL after KYMRIAH infusion and may be concurrent with CRS. In the event of febrile neutropenia, evaluate for infection and manage with broad spectrum antibiotics, fluids, and other supportive care as medically indicated.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) reactivation, in some cases resulting in fulminant hepatitis, hepatic failure, and death, can occur in patients treated with drugs directed against B cells. There is no evidence with manufacturing KYMRIAH for patients with a positive test for HIV or with active HBV or active HCV. Perform screening for HBV, HCV, and HIV in accordance with clinical guidelines before collection of cells for manufacturing.
Prolonged Cytopenias: Patients may exhibit cytopenias for several weeks following lymphodepleting chemotherapy and KYMRIAH infusion. In patients with r/r ALL, ≥ grade 3 cytopenias not resolved by Day 28 following KYMRIAH treatment included neutropenia (40%) and thrombocytopenia (27%) among 52 responding patients. At 56 days following KYMRIAH, 17% and 12% of responding patients had ≥ grade 3 neutropenia or thrombocytopenia, respectively. Prolonged neutropenia has been associated with increased risk of infection. Myeloid growth factors, particularly GM-CSF, are not recommended during the first 3 weeks after KYMRIAH infusion or until CRS has resolved.
Hypogammaglobulinemia: Hypogammaglobulinemia and agammaglobulinemia related to B-cell aplasia can occur in patients after KYMRIAH infusion. Hypogammaglobulinemia was reported in 53% of patients with r/r ALL. Monitor immunoglobulin levels after treatment with KYMRIAH and manage using infection precautions, antibiotic prophylaxis, and immunoglobulin replacement standard guidelines.
The safety of immunization with live vaccines during or following KYMRIAH treatment has not been studied. Vaccination with live vaccines is not recommended for at least 6 weeks prior to the start of lymphodepleting chemotherapy, during KYMRIAH treatment, and until immune recovery following treatment with KYMRIAH.
Pregnant women who have received KYMRIAH may have hypogammaglobulinemia. Assess immunoglobulin levels in newborns of mothers treated with KYMRIAH.
Secondary Malignancies: Patients treated with KYMRIAH may develop secondary malignancies or recurrence of their cancer. Monitor lifelong for secondary malignancies. If a second malignancy occurs, call 1‑844‑4KYMRIAH (1-844-459-6742) to obtain instructions on patient samples to collect for testing.
Effects on Ability to Drive and Use Machines: Due to the potential for neurological events, including altered mental status or seizures, patients receiving KYMRIAH are at risk for altered or decreased consciousness or coordination in the 8 weeks following infusion. Advise patients to refrain from driving and engaging in hazardous occupations or activities, such as operating heavy or potentially dangerous machinery, during this initial period.
HIV and the lentivirus used to make KYMRIAH have limited, short spans of identical genetic material (RNA). Therefore, some commercial HIV nucleic acid tests (NATs) may yield false positive results in patients who have received KYMRIAH.
Pregnancy, Lactation, Females and Males of Reproductive Potential
No data are available of KYMRIAH use in pregnant or lactating women. Therefore, KYMRIAH is not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. A risk to the breastfed infant cannot be excluded. Pregnancy after KYMRIAH administration should be discussed with the treating physician. Pregnancy status of females of reproductive potential should be verified with a pregnancy test prior to starting treatment with KYMRIAH. Report pregnancies to Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation at 1‑888‑669‑6682.
The most common adverse reactions (>20%) in patients with r/r ALL were cytokine release syndrome, infections-pathogen unspecified, hypogammaglobulinemia, fever, decreased appetite, viral infectious disorders, headache, febrile neutropenia, bleeding episodes, vomiting, encephalopathy, diarrhea, hypotension, cough, nausea, bacterial infectious disorders, pain, hypoxia, fatigue, acute kidney injury, and arrhythmia.
Please see full Prescribing Information for KYMRIAH, including Boxed WARNING, and Medication Guide.