Repetitive busulfan administration after hematopoietic stem cell gene therapy associated with a dominant HDAC7 clone in a nonhuman primate.
ABSTRACT: The risk of genotoxicity of retroviral vector-delivered gene therapy targeting hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) has been highlighted by the development of clonal dominance and malignancies in human and animal gene therapy trials. Large-animal models have proven invaluable to test the safety of retroviral vectors, but the detection of clonal dominance may require years of follow-up. We hypothesized that hematopoietic stress may accelerate the proliferation and therefore the detection of abnormal clones in these models. We administered four monthly busulfan (Bu) infusions to induce hematopoietic stress in a healthy rhesus macaque previously transplanted with CD34+ cells transduced with retroviral vectors carrying a simple marker gene. Busulfan administration resulted in significant cytopenias with each cycle, and prolonged pancytopenia after the final cycle with eventual recovery. Before busulfan treatment there was highly polyclonal marking in all lineages. After Bu administration clonal diversity was markedly decreased in all lineages. Unexpectedly, we found no evidence of selection of the MDS1/EVI1 clones present before Bu administration, but a clone with a vector integration in intron 1 of the histone deacetylase-7 (HDAC7) gene became dominant in granulocytes over time after Bu administration. The overall marking level in the animal was increased significantly after Bu treatment and coincident with expansion of the HDAC7 clone, suggesting an in vivo advantage for this clone under stress. HDAC7 expression was upregulated in marrow progenitors containing the vector. Almost 5 years after Bu administration, the animal developed progressive cytopenias, and at autopsy the marrow showed complete lack of neutrophil or platelet maturation, with a new population of approximately 20% undifferentiated blasts. These data suggest that chemotherapeutic stress may accelerate vector-related clonal dominance, even in the absence of drug resistance genes expressed by the vector. This model may both accelerate the detection of abnormal clones to facilitate analysis of genotoxicity for human gene therapy, and help assess the safety of administering myelotoxic chemotherapeutic agents in patients previously engrafted with vector-containing cells.
Project description:Chronic granulomatous disease (CGD) is associated with significant morbidity and mortality from infection. The first CGD gene therapy trial resulted in only short-term marking of 0.01% to 0.1% of neutrophils. A recent study, using busulfan conditioning and an SFFV retrovirus vector, achieved more than 20% marking in 2 patients with X-linked CGD. However, oxidase correction per marked neutrophil was less than normal and not sustained. Despite this, patients clearly benefited in that severe infections resolved. As such, we initiated a gene therapy trial for X-CGD to treat severe infections unresponsive to conventional therapy. We treated 3 adult patients using busulfan conditioning and an MFGS retroviral vector encoding gp91(phox), achieving early marking of 26%, 5%, and 4% of neutrophils, respectively, with sustained long-term marking of 1.1% and 0.03% of neutrophils in 2 of the patients. Gene-marked neutrophils have sustained full correction of oxidase activity for 34 and 11 months, respectively, with full or partial resolution of infection in those 2 patients. Gene marking is polyclonal with no clonal dominance. We conclude that busulfan conditioning together with an MFGS vector is capable of achieving long-term correction of neutrophil oxidase function sufficient to provide benefit in management of severe infection. This study was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT00394316.
Project description:Retroviral gene therapy has proved efficacious for multiple genetic diseases of the hematopoietic system, but roughly half of clinical gene therapy trial protocols using gammaretroviral vectors have reported leukemias in some of the patients treated. In dramatic contrast, 39 adenosine deaminase-deficient severe combined immunodeficiency (ADA-SCID) patients have been treated with 4 distinct gammaretroviral vectors without oncogenic consequence. We investigated clonal dynamics and diversity in a cohort of 15 ADA-SCID children treated with gammaretroviral vectors and found clear evidence of genotoxicity, indicated by numerous common integration sites near proto-oncogenes and by increased abundance of clones with integrations near MECOM and LMO2 These clones showed stable behavior over multiple years and never expanded to the point of dominance or dysplasia. One patient developed a benign clonal dominance that could not be attributed to insertional mutagenesis and instead likely resulted from expansion of a transduced natural killer clone in response to chronic Epstein-Barr virus viremia. Clonal diversity and T-cell repertoire, measured by vector integration site sequencing and T-cell receptor ?-chain rearrangement sequencing, correlated significantly with the amount of busulfan preconditioning delivered to patients and to CD34+ cell dose. These data, in combination with results of other ADA-SCID gene therapy trials, suggest that disease background may be a crucial factor in leukemogenic potential of retroviral gene therapy and underscore the importance of cytoreductive conditioning in this type of gene therapy approach.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Allogeneic hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation for X-linked severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID-X1) often fails to reconstitute immunity associated with T cells, B cells, and natural killer (NK) cells when matched sibling donors are unavailable unless high-dose chemotherapy is given. In previous studies, autologous gene therapy with ?-retroviral vectors failed to reconstitute B-cell and NK-cell immunity and was complicated by vector-related leukemia. METHODS:We performed a dual-center, phase 1-2 safety and efficacy study of a lentiviral vector to transfer IL2RG complementary DNA to bone marrow stem cells after low-exposure, targeted busulfan conditioning in eight infants with newly diagnosed SCID-X1. RESULTS:Eight infants with SCID-X1 were followed for a median of 16.4 months. Bone marrow harvest, busulfan conditioning, and cell infusion had no unexpected side effects. In seven infants, the numbers of CD3+, CD4+, and naive CD4+ T cells and NK cells normalized by 3 to 4 months after infusion and were accompanied by vector marking in T cells, B cells, NK cells, myeloid cells, and bone marrow progenitors. The eighth infant had an insufficient T-cell count initially, but T cells developed in this infant after a boost of gene-corrected cells without busulfan conditioning. Previous infections cleared in all infants, and all continued to grow normally. IgM levels normalized in seven of the eight infants, of whom four discontinued intravenous immune globulin supplementation; three of these four infants had a response to vaccines. Vector insertion-site analysis was performed in seven infants and showed polyclonal patterns without clonal dominance in all seven. CONCLUSIONS:Lentiviral vector gene therapy combined with low-exposure, targeted busulfan conditioning in infants with newly diagnosed SCID-X1 had low-grade acute toxic effects and resulted in multilineage engraftment of transduced cells, reconstitution of functional T cells and B cells, and normalization of NK-cell counts during a median follow-up of 16 months. (Funded by the American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities and others; LVXSCID-ND ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01512888.).
Project description:Busulfan (Bu)/cyclophosphamide (Cy) is a standard conditioning platform for allogeneic transplantation. We developed a strategy separating the Cy into two pre/post-transplantation doses (PTCy), providing myeloablative conditioning and single-agent graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) prophylaxis. We investigated the impact of Bu route on treatment-related toxicity for 131 consecutive adult patients. Busulfan was administered in four daily divided doses either orally (n?=?72) or intravenously (n?=?59) with pharmacokinetics on the first-dose and as necessary on subsequent doses to achieve a target area-under-the-concentration-curve (AUC) of 800-1400??mol*min/L per dose. BuCy/PTCy with pharmacokinetics is well-tolerated with low treatment-related toxicity. Hepatic veno-occlusive disease incidence was 6% with two fatal events. Bu administration route in the context of BuCy/PTCy did not statistically impact hepatotoxicity, GVHD, relapse, disease-free survival, or overall survival. The BuCy/PTCy platform has a low incidence of treatment-related toxicity, including hepatotoxicity, in hematologic malignancies when using pharmacokinetics for a target AUC of 800-1400??mol*min/L, irrespective of Bu administration route.
Project description:In gene therapeutic approaches targeting hematopoietic cells, insertional mutagenesis may provoke clonal dominance with potential progress to overt leukemia. To investigate the contribution of cell-intrinsic features and determine the frequency of insertional proto-oncogene activation, we sorted hematopoietic subpopulations before transduction with replication-deficient gamma-retroviral vectors and studied the clonal repertoire in transplanted C57BL/6J mice. Progressive clonal dominance only developed in the progeny of populations with intrinsic stem cell potential, where expanding clones with insertional upregulation of proto-oncogenes such as Evi1 were retrieved with a frequency of approximately 10(-4). Longitudinal studies by high-throughput sequencing and locus-specific quantitative PCR showed clones with >50-fold expansion between weeks 5 and 31 after transplantation. In contrast, insertional events in proto-oncogenes did not endow the progeny of multipotent or myeloid-restricted progenitors with the potential for clonal dominance (risk <10(-6)). Transducing sorted hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) with self-inactivating (SIN) lentiviral vectors in short-term cultures improved chimerism, and although clonal dominance developed, there was no evidence for insertional events in the vicinity of proto-oncogenes as the underlying cause. We conclude that cell-intrinsic properties cooperate with vector-related features to determine the incidence and consequences of insertional mutagenesis. Furthermore, our study offers perspectives for refinement of animal experiments in the assessment of vector-related genotoxicity.
Project description:Retroviral vector-mediated stem cell gene therapy is a promising approach for the treatment of hematopoietic disorders. However, genotoxic side effects from integrated vector proviruses are a significant concern for the use of retroviral vectors in the clinic. Insulated foamy viral (FV) vectors are potentially safer retroviral vectors for hematopoietic stem cell gene therapy. We evaluated two newly identified human insulators, A1 and A2, for use in FV vectors. These insulators had moderate insulating capacity and higher titers than previously developed insulated FV vectors. The A1-insulated FV vector was chosen for comparison with the previously described 650cHS4-insulated FV vector in human cord blood CD34+ repopulating cells in an immunodeficient mouse model. To maximize the effects of the insulators on the safety of FV vectors, FV vectors containing a highly genotoxic spleen focus forming virus promoter were used to elicit differences in genotoxicity. In vivo, the A1-insulated FV vector showed an approximate 50% reduction in clonal dominance compared with either the 650cHS4-insulated or control FV vectors, although the transduction efficiency of the A1-insulated vector was higher. This data suggests that the A1-insulated FV vector is promising for future preclinical and clinical studies.
Project description:To characterize intracellular signaling in peripheral blood (PB) cells of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients undergoing pretransplant conditioning with CXCR4 inhibitor plerixafor, granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF), and busulfan plus fludarabine (Bu+Flu) chemotherapy, we profiled 153 proteins in 33 functional groups using reverse phase protein array. CXCR4 inhibition mobilized AML progenitors and clonal AML cells, and this was associated with molecular markers of cell cycle progression. G-CSF/plerixafor and G-CSF/plerixafor/Bu+Flu modulated distinct signaling networks in AML blasts of patients undergoing conditioning with active disease compared to nonleukemic PB cells of patients in remission. We identified AML-specific proteins that remained aberrantly expressed after chemotherapy, representing putative chemoresistance markers in AML.
Project description:Foamy virus (FV) vectors are promising for hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) gene therapy but preclinical data on the clonal composition of FV vector-transduced human repopulating cells is needed. Human CD34(+) human cord blood cells were transduced with an FV vector encoding a methylguanine methyltransferase (MGMT)P140K transgene, transplanted into immunodeficient NOD/SCID IL2R?(null) mice, and selected in vivo for gene-modified cells. The retroviral insertion site profile of repopulating clones was examined using modified genomic sequencing PCR. We observed polyclonal repopulation with no evidence of clonal dominance even with the use of a strong internal spleen focus forming virus promoter known to be genotoxic. Our data supports the use of FV vectors with MGMTP140K for HSC gene therapy but also suggests additional safety features should be developed and evaluated.
Project description:The infusion of donor lymphocytes transduced with a retroviral vector expressing the HSV-TK suicide gene in patients undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for leukemia/lymphoma promotes immune reconstitution and prevents infections and graft-versus-host disease. Analysis of the clonal dynamics of genetically modified lymphocytes in vivo is of crucial importance to understand the potential genotoxic risk of this therapeutic approach. We used linear amplification-mediated PCR and pyrosequencing to build a genome-wide, high-definition map of retroviral integration sites in the genome of peripheral blood T cells from two different donors and used gene expression profiling and bioinformatics to associate integration clusters to transcriptional activity and to genetic and epigenetic features of the T cell genome. Comparison with matched random controls and with integrations obtained from CD34(+) hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells showed that integration clusters occur within chromatin regions bearing epigenetic marks associated with active promoters and regulatory elements in a cell-specific fashion. Analysis of integration sites in T cells obtained ex vivo two months after infusion showed no evidence of integration-related clonal expansion or dominance, but rather loss of cells harboring integration events interfering with RNA post-transcriptional processing. The study shows that high-definition maps of retroviral integration sites are a powerful tool to analyze the fate of genetically modified T cells in patients and the biological consequences of retroviral transduction.
Project description:High-dose busulfan (BU) followed by high-dose cyclophosphamide (CY) before allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) has long been used as treatment for hematologic malignancies. Administration of phenytoin or newer alternative antiepileptic medications (AEMs) prevents seizures caused by BU. Phenytoin induces enzymes that increase exposure to active CY metabolites in vivo, whereas alternative AEMs do not have this effect. Lower exposure to active CY metabolites with the use of alternative AEMs could decrease the risk of toxicity but might increase the risk of recurrent malignancy after HCT. Previous studies have not determined whether outcomes with alternative AEMs differ from those with phenytoin in patients treated with BU/CY before allogeneic HCT. We studied a cohort of 2155 patients, including 1460 treated with phenytoin and 695 treated with alternative AEMs, who received BU/CY before allogeneic HCT between 2004 and 2014. We found no differences suggesting decreased overall survival or relapse-free survival or increased risks of relapse, nonrelapse mortality, acute or chronic graft-versus-host disease, or regimen-related toxicity associated with the use of alternative AEMs compared with phenytoin. The risk of dialysis was lower in the alternative AEM group than in the phenytoin group. Alternative AEMs are safe for prevention of seizures after BU administration and can avoid the undesirable toxicities and drug interactions caused by phenytoin.