What are the side effects of CAR T-cell therapy?

The most common side effects seen are:

  • Cytokine release syndrome, which is similar to flu-like symptoms (headache; fever; chills; severe nausea, vomiting, diarrhea; severe muscle or joint pain), shortness of breath, low blood pressure and fast heart rate. These symptoms are mild in most patients but can be serious and life threatening.
  • Neurologic events can also be experienced and can be serious in some patients. Neurologic events include encephalopathy (brain disease, injury, malfunction), confusion, aphasia (difficulty understand or speaking), drowsiness, agitation, seizures, loss of balance and altered consciousness.
  • Low white blood cell count (neutropenia)
  • Low red blood cell count ( Anemia )

Fortunately, most of the side effects can be managed with drugs or resolved on their own without the need for treatment. Ask your physician or care team about all the potential side effects. Call your doctor right away if you experience these or any other side effects.

What’s the success rate of CAR T-cell therapy for lymphoma?

Over 80 percent of patients who received Yescarta® in clinical trials experienced either a complete or partial response. (A complete response means there were no signs of cancer; partial response means there was some reduction in the extent of the cancer.)

Over 80 percent of children and young adults treated with Kymriah® in clinical trials had their cancer go into remission.

Data about the long-term success of these drugs continues to be collected.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy