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The addition of blinatumomab to the Interfant 06 study protocol for infants with newly diagnosed ALL

Jan 4, 2022

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Infants (<1 year old) with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) have worse survival outcomes than older children, which is further pronounced with the presence of KMT2A rearrangement (KMT2A-r). KMT2A-r is common in infant patients (75%) and produces high rates of early relapse which is associated with reduced survival (20%). Improvements to frontline treatment are therefore of urgent need. One potential strategy is the use of blinatumomab, an anti-CD19 bispecific T-cell engager, which has previously demonstrated promising efficacy and safety in both older children and adult patients with ALL.1

At the 63rd American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting and Exposition, Inge Van Der Sluis presented a phase II study investigating the safety and efficacy of blinatumomab as an addition to the Interfant-06 study treatment protocol in infants with newly diagnosed KMT2A-r ALL.1 We summarize key findings below.

Study design

This was a phase II prospective, open-label, non-randomized, multicenter pilot study. The study design, including primary and secondary endpoints, is summarized in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Study Design* 

EFS, event-free survival; HSCT, hematopoietic stem cell transplant; MRD, minimal residual disease; OS, overall survival.
*Adapted from Van Der Sluis, et al.1
15 ug/m2/day, 28-day continuous infusion.
Medium risk patients with MRD levels >0.05% before OCTADAD and all high-risk patients in complete remission were eligible for HSCT.

Eligibility criteria for this study included:

  • treatment according to Interfant-06 backbone
  • newly diagnosed, CD19 positive, B-precursor ALL
  • <1 year of age
  • KMT2Ar-ALL
  • M1 or M2 bone marrow after induction
  • no clinically relevant CNS pathology
  • no evidence of CNS involvement at the end of induction


Patient characteristics for the entire cohort (N = 30) are summarized in Table 1.

Table 1. Patient characteristics*

Characteristic, %

N = 30

Age at diagnosis


              <6 months


              ≥6 months




Medium risk


High risk


CR at end of induction


CNS status at diagnosis








              Not evaluable/unknown


KMT2Ar status








              Other/partner not known


MRD < 0.05%


CNS, central nervous system; CR, complete remission; KMT2Ar, KMT2A rearrangement; MRD, minimal residual disease.
*Data from Van Der Sluis, et al.1
High risk defined as age <6 months at diagnosis and white blood cell count ≥300 × 109/L and/or poor prednisone response.


All patients completed a 4-week course of blinatumomab, and only one patient interrupted treatment for two days due to hypertensive crisis. Serious adverse events (AEs) during blinatumomab treatment were reported in ten patients, including infections Grade 3–4 (n = 4), fever (n = 4), vomiting (n = 1), and hypertensive crisis (n = 1).

A total of 80 AEs were reported, and the most common Grade ≥3 AEs included febrile neutropenia (n = 2), anemia (n = 10), and elevated gamma-glutamyl transferase (n = 2).

MRD response

  • The rate of minimal residual disease (MRD) negativity/MRD <5 × 104 was 93% the end of blinatumomab treatment.
    • MRD negativity/MRD <5 × 104 before OCTADAD/HSCT was 100%, significantly higher when compared to historical controls receiving IF06 study treatment (82%; p = 0.02).
  • Patients who were classified with medium risk had higher rates of MRD negativity at the end of blinatumomab treatment compared with high-risk patients (62% vs 22%; p = 0.0457)
  • Likewise, those with low MRD (<5 × 104) at the end of induction showed significantly higher MRD negativity at the end of blinatumomab treatment (78% vs 18%; p = 0.0022).
  • No patients with medium risk were given HSCT based on high MRD before OCTADAD, compared with 20% in the interfant-06 trial.
  • However, two medium risk patients received HSCT based on high MRD at the end of induction.

Relapse and death

  • One patient died due to toxicity which was not related to blinatumomab.
  • Three relapses were reported, including two patients who were medium risk and are in second complete remission following HSCT. One patient with high-risk disease who relapsed died.
  • Four patients had a CNS or combined bone marrow-CNS relapse, all of which were CD19 positive.

EFS and OS

  • After a median follow-up of 16.3 months, the 1-year event-free survival (EFS) rate was 90% and 1-year overall survival (OS) rate was 93.1%.
  • In comparison, historical controls treated with IF06 had a 1-year EFS of 54.8% and OS rate of 69.8%.


This study demonstrated that the addition of blinatumomab to the interfant-06 study protocol was well tolerated in infants with ALL. MRD response was high, relapse rates were low, and EFS was greater than historical controls. Despite a short follow-up, Van Der Sluis highlighted that most events in the blinatumomab treatment group occurred in the first year, which is encouraging for long-term outcomes. Relapse will continue to be monitored in the future, and a new interfant-06 protocol will include blinatumomab.

  1. Inge Van Der Sluis. A phase 2 study to test the feasibility, safety and efficacy of the addition of blinatumomab to the Interfant06 backbone in infants with newly diagnosed KMT2A-rearranged acute lymphoblastic leukemia. A collaborative study of the Interfant network. Oral abstract #361. 63rd American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting and Exposition. Dec 12, 2021; Virtual.


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