The introduction of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy represents a landmark advancement in treating resistant forms of cancer such as leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma. However, concerns about long-term safety have emerged following an FDA investigation into reports of second primary malignancies (SPM) after CAR-T cell treatment. This review offers a thorough examination of how genetically modified T cells might transform into CAR+ SPM. It explores genetic and molecular pathways leading to T-cell lymphomagenesis, the balance between CAR T-cell persistence, stemness, and oncogenic risk, and the trade-off of T-cell exhaustion, which may limit therapy efficacy but potentially reduce lymphomagenesis risk.

Significance: An FDA probe into 22 cases of second primary T-cell malignancies following CAR T-cell therapy stresses the need to investigate their origins. Few may arise from preexisting genetic and epigenetic alterations and those introduced during therapeutic engineering. Technological advances, regulatory oversight, and patient monitoring are essential to mitigate potential risks.

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