BCMA/CD3-targeting bispecific antibodies (BsAb) are a recently developed immunotherapy class that shows potent tumor killing activity in multiple myeloma. Here, we investigated a murine BCMA/CD3-targeting BsAb in the immunocompetent Vk*MYC model and its immunomodulatory imide drug (IMiD)-sensitive derivative Vk*MYChCRBN model of multiple myeloma. The BCMA/CD3 BsAb was safe and efficacious in a subset of mice but failed in those with high tumor burden, consistent with clinical reports of BsAb in leukemia. The combination of BCMA/CD3 BsAb with pomalidomide expanded lytic T cells and improved activity even in IMiD-resistant high-tumor burden cases. Yet, survival was only marginally extended due to acute toxicity and T-cell exhaustion, which impaired T-cell persistence. In contrast, the combination with cyclophosphamide was safe and allowed for a tempered proinflammatory response associated with long-lasting complete remission. Concurrent cytotoxic therapy with BsAb actually improved T-cell persistence and function, offering a promising approach to patients with a large tumor burden. SIGNIFICANCE: BCMA-targeted therapy induces deep but transient clinical responses. We developed an immunocompetent, IMiD-sensitive genetically engineered mouse model and show that IMiDs potentiate T-cell activation, increasing short-term efficacy of anti-BCMA/CD3 BsAb, but exacerbate T-cell exhaustion. Surprisingly, by reducing tumor burden and depleting regulatory T cells, cyclophosphamide prevents BsAb-induced T-cell exhaustion and promotes long-term multiple myeloma control.See related commentary by Louvet et al., p. 297.
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