CAR T cells and time-limited ibrutinib as treatment for relapsed/refractory mantle cell lymphoma: the phase 2 TARMAC study

Adrian Minson, Nada Hamad, Chan Y. Cheah, Constantine Tam, Piers Blombery, David Westerman, David Ritchie, Huw Morgan, Nicholas Holzwart, Stephen Lade, Mary Ann Anderson, Amit Khot, John F. Seymour, Molly Robertson, Imogen Caldwell, Georgina Ryland, Javad Saghebi, Zahra Sabahi, Jing Xie, Rachel KoldejMichael Dickinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


CD19-directed chimeric antigen receptor T cells (CAR-T) achieve high response rates in patients with relapsed/refractory mantle cell lymphoma (MCL). However, their use is associated with significant toxicity, relapse concern, and unclear broad tractability. Preclinical and clinical data support a beneficial synergistic effect of ibrutinib on apheresis product fitness, CAR-T expansion, and toxicity. We evaluated the combination of time-limited ibrutinib and CTL019 CAR-T in 20 patients with MCL in the phase 2 TARMAC study. Ibrutinib commenced before leukapheresis and continued through CAR-T manufacture for a minimum of 6 months after CAR-T administration. The median prior lines of therapy was 2; 50% of patients were previously exposed to a Bruton tyrosine kinase inhibitor (BTKi). The primary end point was 4-month postinfusion complete response (CR) rate, and secondary end points included safety and subgroup analysis based on TP53 aberrancy. The primary end point was met; 80% of patients demonstrated CR, with 70% and 40% demonstrating measurable residual disease negativity by flow cytometry and molecular methods, respectively. At 13-month median follow-up, the estimated 12-month progression-free survival was 75% and overall survival 100%. Fifteen patients (75%) developed cytokine release syndrome; 12 (55%) with grade 1 to 2 and 3 (20%) with grade 3. Reversible grade 1 to 2 neurotoxicity was observed in 2 patients (10%). Efficacy was preserved irrespective of prior BTKi exposure or TP53 mutation. Deep responses correlated with robust CAR-T expansion and a less exhausted baseline T-cell phenotype. Overall, the safety and efficacy of the combination of BTKi and T-cell redirecting immunotherapy appears promising and merits further exploration. This trial was registered at as #NCT04234061.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)673-684
Number of pages12
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 22 Feb 2024


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