Predictors of Humoral Response to SARS-CoV-2 Vaccination after Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation and CAR T-cell Therapy

Tamari R, Politikos I, Knorr DA, Vardhana SA, Young JC, Marcello LT, Doddi S, Devlin SM, Ramanathan LV, Pessin MS, Dunn E, Palazzo M, Bravo CD, Papanicolaou GA, Kamboj M, Perales MA, Chung DJ, Shah GL.

Blood Cancer Discov. 2021 Sep 13;2(6):577-585.


Cellular therapies including allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplant (allo-HCT) and autologous hematopoietic cell transplant (auto-HCT) and chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy render patients severely immunocompromised for extended periods after therapy, and data on responses to COVID-19 vaccines are limited. We analyzed anti-SARS-CoV-2 spike IgG Ab (spike Ab) titers and neutralizing Ab among 217 recipients of cellular treatments (allo-HCT, n = 149; auto-HCT, n = 61; CAR T-cell therapy, n = 7). At 3 months after vaccination, 188 patients (87%) had positive spike Ab levels and 139 (77%) had positive neutralization activity compared with 100% for both in 54 concurrent healthy controls. Time from cellular therapy to vaccination and immune recovery post-cellular therapy were associated with response. Vaccination against COVID-19 is an important component of post-cellular therapy care, and predictors of quantitative and qualitative response are critical in informing clinical decisions about optimal timing of vaccines and the requirement for booster doses.


Significance: Identifying predictors of response to vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 in patients following cellular therapy is critical to managing this highly vulnerable patient population. To date, this is the most comprehensive study evaluating quantitative and qualitative responses to vaccination, providing parameters most predictive of response and potentially informing booster vaccination strategies.