BACKGROUND: ROR1 is a type 1 transmembrane tyrosine kinase receptor that plays a critical role in embryonic and fetal development. ROR1 has been described as a possible oncogene and is expressed in numerous malignancies including TNBC and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). We are conducting a first-in-human trial targeting ROR1 with CAR-T cells in patients with advanced TNBC and NSCLC. The cellular construct employed targets the Ig/Fz portion of the extracellular domain of ROR1 and contains 4-1BB/CD3ζ intracellular signaling domain. The manufacturing process utilizes autologous peripheral blood lymphocytes, separated into CD4 and CD8 subsets, which are independently cultured with anti-CD3/anti-CD28 beads and IL-2, then transduced with a lentiviral vector encoding the ROR1 CAR. The CAR-T cell product is formulated in a 1:1 ratio of CD4+ and CD8+ CAR-T cells.

METHODS: This ongoing phase I trial (NCT02706392) is evaluating the safety of administering ROR1 CAR-T cells in escalating doses (3.3x105, 1x106, 3.3x106 and 1x107 cells/kg) following lymphodepletion with cyclophosphamide-containing regimens using a continual reassessment method (CRM) for dose escalation. TNBC patients with adequate organ function and performance status, measurable disease, and tumors expressing ROR1 (>20% by IHC) are eligible for enrollment. Persistence of CAR-T cells in blood, cytokine levels, measures of immunogenicity and multi-parametric flow cytometry are being evaluated at multiple time points. Imaging assessments by RECIST 1.1 are performed day 28 - 90, then at 6 and 12 months, and every 6 months as clinically indicated to estimate efficacy.

RESULTS: To date, 4 TNBC patients (age range 38-67) have been enrolled, treated and are evaluable for response. Patients had received prior therapies for metastatic disease (range 3-11). 3 of 4 had visceral metastases. No dose-limiting toxicities, severe neurotoxicity or severe cytokine release syndrome (sCRS) were observed at dose levels 1 and 2. Two patients experienced grade 1 CRS. 2 of 4 patients had evidence of CAR-T cell expansion between days 14 and 20, with peak CD8+ CAR-T up to 232.1 cells/uL. Analysis of surface phenotype revealed upregulation of inhibitory receptors on CAR-T cells at the peak of expansion, confirmed by RNA seq. Post-treatment tumor biopsy in patient with partial response revealed an influx of CD3+ T cells and macrophages suggesting ROR1 CAR-T cell trafficking. Two patients received 2 CAR-T cell infusions. Two patients had confirmed stable disease at 15 weeks and 19 weeks, respectively. One patient has stable disease after 1st CAR-T cell infusion, then confirmed partial response after 2nd CAR-T cell infusion which has persisted for 14 weeks. Results will be updated.

CONCLUSIONS: ROR1+ CAR-T cells can be safely transferred, expand in vivo in patients with TNBC. Current efforts are directed at understanding and overcoming the mechanisms that limit homing, persistence, and/or function at tumor sites. The trial is continuing with dose-escalation. Funding provided by 8RO1 CA114536-11 and Juno Therapeutics.

Citation Format: Specht JM, Lee SM, Turtle C, Berger C, Balakrishnan A, Srivastava S, Viollet V, Veatch J, Gooley T, Mullane E, Chaney CN, Rader C, Pierce RH, Gottardo R, Maloney DG, Riddell SR. A phase I study of adoptive immunotherapy for ROR1+ advanced triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) with defined subsets of autologous T cells expressing a ROR1-specific chimeric antigen receptor (ROR1-CAR) [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the 2018 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium; 2018 Dec 4-8; San Antonio, TX. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2019;79(4 Suppl):Abstract nr P2-09-13.