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Infections in children following chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy for B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

BACKGROUND: CD19-directed chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapy is transforming care for pediatric patients with relapsed or refractory B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL). There are limited pediatric-specific data concerning the infection risks associated with CD19 CAR-T therapy and the adequacy of current antimicrobial prophylaxis guidelines for these patients.

METHODS: We describe the antimicrobial prophylaxis used and the types of infectious occurring in the first 100 days following CAR-T therapy for relapsed or refractory B-cell ALL in children and adolescents (≤18 years) at our centre.

RESULTS: Twenty-seven patients received their first CAR-T infusion (CTI) during the study period. Almost all patients (96%) had a comprehensive Infectious Diseases review prior to CTI, which informed a personalised prophylaxis or fever/sepsis plan in six (22%). Overall, six (22%) patients had one or more infections during the study period including five (19%, 0.9 per 100 days-at-risk) from days 0-30 and three (n = 20, 15%, 0.6 per 100 days-at-risk) from days 31-100. Bacterial blood stream infections were the most common type of infection encountered during both time periods, and one patient had probable pulmonary aspergillosis. There were no infection-related deaths.

CONCLUSION: Our study contributes important information on the spectrum of infections encountered in pediatric patients with B-ALL post CAR-T therapy. Overall, the burden of infectious complications post CAR-T therapy in our cohort is lower than previously reported in the literature. Results suggest that our prophylaxis recommendations are effective in this population.

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