Patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) have an increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease and mortality. The goal of this study (NCT04746092) was to determine the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccine in patients with CLL. We evaluated humoral immune responses to BNT162b2 mRNA COVID-19 vaccine in patients with CLL and compared responses with those obtained in age-matched healthy controls. Patients received two vaccine doses, 21 days apart, and antibody titers were measured using Elecsys® Anti-SARS-CoV-2S assay after administration of the second dose. In a total of 167 patients with CLL the antibody response rate was 39.5%. A comparison between 52 patients with CLL and 52 sex- and aged-matched healthy controls, revealed a significantly reduced response rate among patients (52% vs 100%, respectively; adjusted odds ratio=0.010, 95% CI 0.001-0.162; p<0.001). Response rate was highest in patients who obtained clinical remission after treatment (79.2%), followed by 55.2% in treatment-naïve and 16% only in patients under treatment at the time of vaccination. In patients treated with either BTK inhibitors or venetoclax ± anti-CD20 antibody, response rates were considerably low (16.0% and 13.6%, respectively). None of the patients exposed to anti-CD20 antibodies <12 months prior to vaccination responded. In a multivariate analysis, the independent predictors of response were younger age, females, lack of currently active treatment, IgG levels ≥550 mg/dL and IgM levels ≥40mg/dL. In conclusion, antibody-mediated response to BNT162b2 mRNA COVID-19 vaccine in patients with CLL is markedly impaired and affected by disease activity and treatment.
Yair Herishanu, Irit Avivi, Anat Aharon, Gabi Shefer, Shai Levi, Yotam Bronstein, Miguel Morales Moshiashvili, Tomer Ziv-Baran, Yamit Shorer, Lydia Scarfo, Erel Joffe, Chava Perry, Paolo Ghia