[Report: tisagenlecleucel for the treatment of relapsed or refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma]leukemia]

Mombo NN, Bisaillon R, Beha S, Brouard ME, Arbour S, Béland M
Record ID 32018000984
Original Title: Avis: tisagenlecleucel pour le traitement du lymphome diffus à grandes cellules B récidivant ou réfractaire
Authors' objectives: Tisagenlecleucel (Kymriah), which was recently approved by Health Canada, is a gene immunotherapy based on the expression of a chimeric anti-CD19 receptor on the surface of T-cells (CAR-T). It is used to treat hematologic cancers, including relapsed or refractory B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (r/r B-ALL). The patient’s T-cells are collected by leukapheresis, genetically engineered, cultured and then reintroduced into the patient. The CAR-T cells recognize the CD19 antigen on the surface of the B lymphocytes. An immune response is induced following the activation of the CAR-T cells, which causes the death of the CD19-positive cells, including the malignant B cells. For the first formal requests to Institut national d’excellence en santé et en services sociaux (INESSS) to evaluate cell therapies, such as those of the CAR-T type, it was agreed with the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux (MSSS) that a consultative arrangement with the different ministerial teams concerned would be put in place to rule on both the advisability of the evaluation and the relevance of widening its scope, specifically, by giving special attention to the organizational issues relating to implementation. Since this approach was more in line with a conventional health technology assessment, INESSS gave the Direction des services de santé et de l’évaluation des technologies (DSSET) the task of evaluating this therapy using a tailored process that meets the same levels of quality and rigour that are characteristic of INESSS’s work and that encourages the combining of different types of knowledge and perspectives, including those provided by clinicians, patients and the general public.
Authors' results and conclusions: RESULTS: (EFFICACY) The tumour response to treatment, as measured by the overall response rate (B2101J: 95%; B2205J: 69%; B2202: 81%, based on a per-protocol analysis), is considered substantial in patients with an advanced stage of the disease. These response rates appeared to be lower in the intent-to-treat analysis (B2101J: 80%; B2205J: 55%; B2202: 66%). Nonetheless, the response was rapid (occurring as early as the first 3 months after treatment), and it seemed profound, as evidenced by the percentage of minimal residual disease-negative patients (B2101J: 86%; B2205J: 64%; B2202: 81%). The results of study B2101J showed that the response can be long-lasting without subsequent treatments (median: 33.4 months). The overall survival data are, however, immature (median 38 months [B2101J], 24 months [B2205J] and 19 months [B2202]), with rates estimated at between 63% and 76% at 1 year, and the extent of the response to treatment is difficult to determine because there is no direct comparison. In addition, between 25% and 39% of the patients who received the therapy in studies B2101J, B2205J and B2202 died, most following disease progression. It should be noted that the treatment could not be administered to 15% to 21% of the patients enrolled in the studies, mainly because of disease progression or production failures. Although the data on tisagenlecleucel are from uncontrolled trials with a weak level of evidence, the experts consider their designs acceptable, given the absence of a standard, effective third-line treatment. (SAFETY) In study B2202, all the patients who were treated with tisagenlecleucel experienced adverse events, most of which were grade 3 or higher. Cytokine release syndrome is a potentially serious adverse event frequently associated with CAR-T therapy. The proportion of patients who experienced this syndrome at grade 3 or 4 (between 38% and 47%) was similar in the three studies B2101J, B2205J and B2202. The severe form of this syndrome requires admission to an intensive care unit and the administration of tocilizumab, which has yet to be approved by Health Canada for this indication. The patients who experienced severe neurological events (grade 3 and higher: 13% in study B2202) received the necessary support care. Another potential complication is prolonged B-cell aplasia, which can lead to infections and requires symptomatic management with monthly immunoglobulin injections. No deaths related to tisagenlecleucel therapy have been reported in the studies. (QUALITY OF LIFE) The data from study B2202 indicate that an improvement in quality of life is achieved 3 months after tisagenlecleucel is administered. However, the significance of these results is limited by the small number of patients questioned and the short duration of follow-up. (THERAPEUTIC VALUE) The naïve indirect comparison of studies B2101J, B2205J and B2202 with the studies of two comparator therapies (blinatumomab and clofarabine-based regimen) seems to show higher overall response rates and a more durable response with tisagenlecleucel. However, this comparison has certain limitations, which affects the significance of the conclusions. The risk-benefit ratio for tisagenlecleucel nonetheless seems favourable in the short term because of the size of the observed effect. It will need to be reassessed in light of new, more robust data. (ECONOMIC DATA) Given the absence of comparative clinical data with the clofarabine-based regimen and blinatumomab, the results of the pharmacoeconomic analysis are highly uncertain. Nevertheless, the pharmacoeconomic model, which INESSS considers acceptable, was used to construct exploratory scenarios, including probabilistic analyses. If considerable clinical benefits persist over the long term, the incremental cost-utility ratio would be approximately $54,000/QALY gained compared to the clofarabine-based regimen and slightly more than $60,000/QALY gained compared to blinatumomab. In the event that the CAR-T cells persist, B-cell aplasia could be maintained, and treatment with immunoglobulins (approximately $20,000/year) could be provided until the disease relapses or the patient dies. Therefore, the incremental cost-utility ratio would vary from $85,000/QALY gained to $93,000/QALY gained, depending on the comparator considered. When all the sources of uncertainty identified by INESSS are taken into account, and if the promise of long-term therapeutic value is confirmed, the probability that these ratios would be at least $100,000/QALY gained is 6% and 19% (depending on the comparator chosen). For information purposes, these probabilities reach 100% for ratios of at most $200,000/QALY gained. Yet, if the clinical benefits do not persist over the longer term, the incremental cost-utility ratio could be up to eight times higher in relation to the two comparators chosen. Tisagenlecleucel is a costly technology intended for a population estimated at most at 5 or 6 people a year. Its use would generate costs to the public health-care and social services system in the order of $6.6 million for the first 3 years. When all the sources of uncertainty identified by INESSS are taken into consideration, the results of the probabilistic analysis show that there is an 80% probability that the costs would range from $5.5 million to $8.6 million. (DATA OBTAINED FROM PATIENTS, PATIENT ASSOCIATIONS AND MEMBERS OF THE GENERAL PUBLIC) The patients who had received tisagenlecleucel and their families reported having chosen this option because it offered a last hope. Even if, for certain families, the uncertainty surrounding the long-term efficacy and safety of this therapy persists, for others, prolonging a life, possibly of good quality, outweighs the long-term risks. The representatives of patient associations consulted said, in fact, that, given the last-resort context, the uncertainties associated with tisagenlecleucel’s long-term efficacy and safety should not be a major concern. For their part, the patients consulted who did not try this therapy and their families indicated that they would be willing to try it and to accept the risks, if their leukemia relapsed or became refractory. The members of the general public consulted said that they were concerned about many aspects of the therapy, mainly because of the limited data on it, despite the fact that the results are promising. They added that they were also concerned about the manufacturing process taking place outside the country (the cross-border transport of the cells, the loss of control over the process, and the ownership of the cells). They also expressed their opinion about the potential impact of the therapy on the healthcare system and on society, be it the potential hospital overcrowding, the economic consequences or access to the therapy. Lastly, they stressed the importance of maintaining Québec hospitals’ expertise and competitiveness in the area of cell therapy. (ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS) Different ethical and social issues surrounding tisagenlecleucel were identified, including the current situation in which the manufacturer has a monopoly, the possibility of long-term adverse effects, and the constraints in patients’ access to the therapy. Given the last-resort context and the high degree of vulnerability of patients and their families, special attention was given to informed decision-making.
Authors' recomendations: The members of the deliberative committee unanimously recognized the therapeutic value of tisagenlecleucel (Kymriah) in the treatment of children and young adults with relapsed or refractory B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (r/r B-ALL). Consequently, the members are of the opinion that this therapy should be administered to patients with r/r B-ALL, if a measure for mitigating the economic burden is put in place. INESSS recommends to the Minister that tisagenlecleucel (Kymriah) be covered, if a measure for mitigating the economic burden is put in place. Indication recognized for coverage The indication for coverage proposed for tisagenlecleucel (Kymriah) is as follows: • for the treatment of pediatric and young adult patients aged 3 to 25 years with B-cell acute lymphocytic leukemia who are refractory or have relapsed after an allogenic stem cell transplant or for those who are ineligible for such a transplant or have experienced second or later relapse. In addition, patients must meet all of the following criteria: disease positive for the CD19 marker; Karnofsky/Lansky performance status  50; life expectancy of at least 12 weeks; no previous anti-CD19 therapy. Implementation considerations 1. The impact of introducing tisagenlecleucel on hospital management, specifically, in intensive care units, is a major concern. Any offer of service will need to be carefully planned to ensure that the necessary resources are acquired so as not to compromise access to routine care and services at the hospitals concerned. 2. Given the uncertainties regarding tisagenlecleucel’s longer-term therapeutic efficacy and safety, as well as its efficiency, the relevance of the offer of service and the details thereof should be reevaluated at a later time in light of new, available data. A time horizon of 3 years should be sufficient to confirm the results with greater certainty.
Authors' methods: The literature data and the data provided by the manufacturer were reviewed to document the efficacy, safety and efficiency of tisagenlecleucel. Data on the patient and general public perspectives were gathered by means of two consultative panels. The data from Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada surveys were studied as well. The ethical aspects were examined by way of a narrative review. In addition, a cost-utility analysis and a budget impact analysis are presented, as are contextual data from the consultations with health professionals in the field.
Project Status: Completed
Year Published: 2019
English language abstract: An English language summary is available
Publication Type: Full HTA
Country: Canada
Province: Quebec
MeSH Terms
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse
  • Immunotherapy, Adoptive
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell
  • Receptors, Chimeric Antigen
  • Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
  • Cell therapy
Organisation Name: Institut national d'excellence en sante et en services sociaux
Contact Address: L'Institut national d'excellence en sante et en services sociaux (INESSS) , 2021, avenue Union, bureau 10.083, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H3A 2S9;Tel: 1+514-873-2563, Fax: 1+514-873-1369
Contact Name: demande@inesss.qc.ca
Contact Email: demande@inesss.qc.ca
Copyright: Gouvernement du Québec
This is a bibliographic record of a published health technology assessment from a member of INAHTA or other HTA producer. No evaluation of the quality of this assessment has been made for the HTA database.