CAR T-cell therapy tied to adverse heart, lung effects, study finds

Twenty percent of  patients who received chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy experienced adverse cardiovascular and pulmonary events, a study published in the November issue of Journal of the American College of Cardiology found. 

CAR T-cell therapy is a form of immunotherapy in which a patient's T-cells are altered in the lab so they will attack cancer cells.  

Researchers used the FDA's adverse event reporting system to investigate adverse heart and lung effects associated with CAR T-cell therapies axicabtagene-ciloleucel, sold under the name Yescarta; and tisagenlecleucel, sold under the name Kymriah. 

Of 2,657 patients treated with the therapies, there were 546 reports of cardiovascular and pulmonary adverse events, findings showed. CAR T-cell therapy was linked to overreporting of tachyarrhythmias, cardiomyopathy, pleural disorders, pericardial diseases and venous thromboembolic events. 

In 68.3 percent of the reports, cardiovascular and pulmonary adverse events overlapped with cytokine release syndrome.   

The findings underline the importance of monitoring patients' vital signs following CAR T-cell therapy, researchers said. 

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