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2351 Low Utility of the H-Score and HLH-2004 Criteria to Identify Patients with Secondary Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis after CAR-T Cell Therapy for Relapsed/Refractory Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma

Program: Oral and Poster Abstracts
Session: 704. Immunotherapies: Poster II
Hematology Disease Topics & Pathways:
CRS, Biological, neurotoxicity, Therapies, CAR-Ts, Adverse Events
Sunday, December 6, 2020, 7:00 AM-3:30 PM

Dong Won Kim, MD1*, Forat Lutfi, MD2, Facundo Zafforoni, BS3*, Moaath Mustafa Ali, MD, MPH2*, Ali Bukhari, MD2, David Gottlieb, MD2*, Seung-Tae Lee, MD, PhD4*, Mehmet Hakan Kocoglu, MD2, Nancy M. Hardy, MD2, Jean A. Yared, MD2, Aaron P. Rapoport, MD2, Jennie Y. Law, MD2 and Saurabh Dahiya, MD2

1Department of Medicine, University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore, MD
2Division of Hematology and Oncology, University of Maryland Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center, Baltimore, MD
3European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer, Brussels, Belgium
4Division of Hematology/Oncology, University of Maryland Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center, Baltimore, MD

Introduction: Secondary hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) is an aggressive life-threatening activation of the immune system triggered by an underlying condition. Use of chimeric antigen receptor therapy (CAR-T) to treat relapsed/refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (R/R DLBCL) is associated with cytokine release syndrome (CRS), Immune Effector Cell Associated Neurotoxicity Syndrome (ICANS) and development of secondary HLH. Application of HLH scoring systems such as the H-score or HLH-2004 criteria to identify CAR-T triggered HLH is not validated in this setting. Inability to promptly recognize the development of secondary HLH in CAR-T patients and to distinguish it from CRS may lead to delay in HLH specific therapy and increased mortality. We analyzed the utility of applying the H-score and the HLH-2004 criteria to identify possible patients with HLH post-CAR-T for R/R DLBCL.

Methods: A single center retrospective analysis of 75 patients with R/R DLBCL following CAR-T was performed. Using a peak ferritin of 500 mcg/L or higher within 30 days of CAR-T administration, 43 out of 75 patients were identified at risk for HLH. The H-score and HLH-2004 criteria were applied retrospectively. Measurement of NK activity was not available for any patients and soluble IL2 was collected intermittently. The mean H-score was calculated, and two sample t-test performed to evaluate for a difference in the mean H-score between low versus high grade CRS, low versus high grade ICANS, as well as presence versus absence of cytopenias at days 30, 90 and 180. Low grade CRS/ICANS was defined as 1, and high grade as 2 or higher. CRS was graded per Lee 2014 criteria and ICANS per CTCAEv.4. The 43 patients were then subdivided by H-score threshold of 169 into H-score Low (< 169) and H-score High (≥ 169). The threshold of 169 was used given a prior validation study showing optimal sensitivity and specificity for identifying acquired HLH in adult patients with an H-score equal to or higher than 169. Both Progression Free Survival (PFS) and Overall Survival (OS) were defined as time from CAR-T infusion until an event of last follow up. Kaplan-Meier curves were produced to describe the distribution of PFS and OS between two subpopulations of low and high H-Score.

Results: Median peak ferritin was 1571.8 mcg/L (range: 375 mcg/L - >50,000 mcg/L, table 1). Median H-score was 135 (range 61 -250). Four patients were treated with HLH directed therapy receiving steroids with either tocilizumab, siltuximab and/or anakinra. Of these 4 patients, only 2 met five HLH-2004 criteria. All 4 patients had H-scores above 169 (209, 211, 228 and 250). Of these 4 patients, one died from complications thought secondary to HLH. Fourteen patients (14/43, 32%) had an H-score >169. Ten patients did not require any HLH directed therapy and had no clinical evidence of HLH. The mean H-score was not different between patients with low vs high grade CRS (148.2 vs 141.8, p=0.7) or low vs high grade ICANS (145.9 vs 142.6, p=0.8). No statistical correlation was seen between H-score and cytopenias at any time point. There was no significant difference in PFS or OS between the H-score low vs high subgroups (p=0.7, p=0.1 respectively, figure 1 and 2). Patients with higher H-score tended to have longer length of hospitalization for CAR-T (Pearson correlation coefficient 0.289).

Conclusions: In patients with R/R DLBCL post CAR-T, the use of either the H-score or application of HLH-2004 criteria had low utility in identifying possible HLH in patients who screened in based on peak ferritin within 30 days of CAR-T administration. While apparent differences between the H-score high and low categories may not reach statistical significance due to the small number of patients, our exploratory analysis does not support the use of H-Score to evaluate for HLH post-CAR-T. The immediate post-CAR-T period is characterized by a high inflammatory state, which likely results in high H-scores. Results from our study suggest a need for further characterization of HLH following CAR-T and the role for a CAR-T specific HLH scoring system to distinguish secondary HLH from CAR-T related inflammation in this specific patient population.

Disclosures: Hardy: American Gene Technologies: Other: DSMB Member; Kite/Gilead: Other: Advisory Board Member; Incyte Corporation: Other: Advisory Board Member.

*signifies non-member of ASH