Favorable outcomes of COVID-19 in recipients of hematopoietic cell transplantation

Gunjan L. Shah, Susan DeWolf, Yeon Joo Lee, Roni Tamari, Parastoo B. Dahi, Jessica A. Lavery, Josel Ruiz, Sean M. Devlin, Christina Cho, Jonathan U. Peled, Ioannis Politikos, Michael Scordo, N. Esther Babady, Tania Jain, Santosha Vardhana, Anthony Daniyan, Craig S. Sauter, Juliet N. Barker, Sergio A. Giralt, Cheryl GossPeter Maslak, Tobias M. Hohl, Mini Kamboj, Lakshmi Ramanathan, Marcel R.M. van den Brink, Esperanza Papadopoulos, Genovefa Papanicolaou, Miguel Angel Perales

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND. Understanding outcomes and immunologic characteristics of cellular therapy recipients with SARS-CoV-2 is critical to performing these potentially life-saving therapies in the COVID-19 era. In this study of recipients of allogeneic (Allo) and autologous (Auto) hematopoietic cell transplant and CD19-directed chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR T) therapy at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, we aimed to identify clinical variables associated with COVID-19 severity and assess lymphocyte populations. METHODS. We retrospectively investigated patients diagnosed between March 15, 2020, and May 7, 2020. In a subset of patients, lymphocyte immunophenotyping, quantitative real-time PCR from nasopharyngeal swabs, and SARS-CoV-2 antibody status were available. RESULTS. We identified 77 patients with SARS-CoV-2 who were recipients of cellular therapy (Allo, 35; Auto, 37; CAR T, 5; median time from cellular therapy, 782 days; IQR, 354–1611 days). Overall survival at 30 days was 78%. Clinical variables significantly associated with the composite endpoint of nonrebreather or higher oxygen requirement and death (n events = 25 of 77) included number of comorbidities (HR 5.41, P = 0.004), infiltrates (HR 3.08, P = 0.032), and neutropenia (HR 1.15, P = 0.04). Worsening graft-versus-host disease was not identified among Allo recipients. Immune profiling revealed reductions and rapid recovery in lymphocyte populations across lymphocyte subsets. Antibody responses were seen in a subset of patients. CONCLUSION. In this series of Allo, Auto, and CAR T recipients, we report overall favorable clinical outcomes for patients with COVID-19 without active malignancy and provide preliminary insights into the lymphocyte populations that are key for the antiviral response and immune reconstitution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6656-6667
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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