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      Potential for bispecific T-cell engagers: role of blinatumomab in acute lymphoblastic leukemia

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          Abstract

          Patients with relapsed/refractory (R/R) B-precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and patients whose minimal residual disease persists during treatment have a poor leukemia-free survival. Despite improvements in front-line therapy, the outcome in these patients remains poor, especially after relapse. As there are no standard chemotherapeutic regimens for the treatment of patients with R/R B-precursor ALL, T-cell-based therapeutic approaches have recently come to the forefront in ALL therapy. Recently, monoclonal antibodies have been developed to target specific antigens expressed in B-lineage blast cells. In this setting, CD19 is of great interest as this antigen is expressed in B-lineage cells. Therefore, it has been selected as the target antigen for blinatumomab, a new bi-specific T-cell engager antibody. This sophisticated antibody binds sites for both CD19 and CD3, leading to T-cell proliferation and activation and B-cell apoptosis. Owing to its short serum half-life, blinatumomab has been administrated by continuous intravenous infusion with a favorable safety profile. The most significant toxicities were central nervous system events and the cytokine release syndrome. This new therapeutic approach using blinatumomab has been shown to be effective in patients with positive minimal residual disease and in patients with R/R B-precursor ALL leading to a recent approval by the US Food and Drug Administration after an accelerated review process. This review focuses on the profile of blinatumomab and its efficacy and safety.

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          Most cited references 37

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          Targeted therapy with the T-cell-engaging antibody blinatumomab of chemotherapy-refractory minimal residual disease in B-lineage acute lymphoblastic leukemia patients results in high response rate and prolonged leukemia-free survival.

          Blinatumomab, a bispecific single-chain antibody targeting the CD19 antigen, is a member of a novel class of antibodies that redirect T cells for selective lysis of tumor cells. In acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), persistence or relapse of minimal residual disease (MRD) after chemotherapy indicates resistance to chemotherapy and results in hematologic relapse. A phase II clinical study was conducted to determine the efficacy of blinatumomab in MRD-positive B-lineage ALL. Patients with MRD persistence or relapse after induction and consolidation therapy were included. MRD was assessed by quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction for either rearrangements of immunoglobulin or T-cell receptor genes, or specific genetic aberrations. Blinatumomab was administered as a 4-week continuous intravenous infusion at a dose of 15 μg/m2/24 hours. Twenty-one patients were treated, of whom 16 patients became MRD negative. One patient was not evaluable due to a grade 3 adverse event leading to treatment discontinuation. Among the 16 responders, 12 patients had been molecularly refractory to previous chemotherapy. Probability for relapse-free survival is 78% at a median follow-up of 405 days. The most frequent grade 3 and 4 adverse event was lymphopenia, which was completely reversible like most other adverse events. Blinatumomab is an efficacious and well-tolerated treatment in patients with MRD-positive B-lineage ALL after intensive chemotherapy. T cells engaged by blinatumomab seem capable of eradicating chemotherapy-resistant tumor cells that otherwise cause clinical relapse.
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            Infection, immune responses and the aetiology of childhood leukaemia.

             Mel F Greaves (2006)
            Childhood leukaemia is the principal subtype of paediatric cancer and, despite success in treatment, its causes remain enigmatic. A plethora of candidate environmental exposures have been proposed, but most lack a biological rationale or consistent epidemiological evidence. Although there might not be a single or exclusive cause, an abnormal immune response to common infection(s) has emerged as a plausible aetiological mechanism.
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              Immunopharmacologic response of patients with B-lineage acute lymphoblastic leukemia to continuous infusion of T cell-engaging CD19/CD3-bispecific BiTE antibody blinatumomab.

              T cell-engaging CD19/CD3-bispecific BiTE Ab blinatumomab has shown an 80% complete molecular response rate and prolonged leukemia-free survival in patients with minimal residual B-lineage acute lymphoblastic leukemia (MRD(+) B-ALL). Here, we report that lymphocytes in all patients of a phase 2 study responded to continuous infusion of blinatumomab in a strikingly similar fashion. After start of infusion, B-cell counts dropped to < 1 B cell/μL within an average of 2 days and remained essentially undetectable for the entire treatment period. By contrast, T-cell counts in all patients declined to a nadir within < 1 day and recovered to baseline within a few days. T cells then expanded and on average more than doubled over baseline within 2-3 weeks under continued infusion of blinatumomab. A significant percentage of reappearing CD8(+) and CD4(+) T cells newly expressed activation marker CD69. Shortly after start of infusion, a transient release of cytokines dominated by IL-10, IL-6, and IFN-γ was observed, which no longer occurred on start of a second treatment cycle. The response of lymphocytes in leukemic patients to continuous infusion of blinatumomab helps to better understand the mode of action of this and other globally T cell-engaging Abs. The trial is registered with www.clinicaltrials.gov identifier NCT00560794.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                Dove Medical Press
                1177-8881
                2016
                18 February 2016
                : 10
                : 757-765
                Affiliations
                Hospices Civils de Lyon, Hematology Department, Lyon-Sud Hospital, Pierre Bénite, France
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Xavier Thomas, Hospices Civils de Lyon, Hematology Department, Lyon-Sud Hospital, Bât 1G, 165 chemin du Grand Revoyet, 69495 Pierre Bénite, France, Tel +33 4 7886 2235, Fax +33 4 7267 8880, Email xavier.thomas@ 123456chu-lyon.fr
                Article
                dddt-10-757
                10.2147/DDDT.S83848
                4762579
                26937176
                © 2016 Le Jeune and Thomas. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

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