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Blood. 2002 Jun 1;99(11):4200-6.

The clinical significance of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) allele compatibility in patients receiving a marrow transplant from serologically HLA-A, HLA-B, and HLA-DR matched unrelated donors.

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Department of Hematology and Chemotherapy, the Division of Epidemiology and Prevention, Aichi Cancer Center, Japan.


To improve the clinical outcome of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation from an unrelated donor, the identification of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) alleles responsible for immunologic events such as graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), engraftment failure, and graft-versus-leukemia effect is essential. Genomic typing of HLA-A, -B, -C, -DRB1, and -DQB1 was retrospectively performed in 1298 donor-patient pairs in cases where marrow was donated from serologically HLA-A, -B, and -DR compatible donors. Single disparities of the HLA-A, -B, -C, or -DRB1 allele were independent risk factors for acute GVHD, and the synergistic effect of the HLA-C allele mismatch with other HLA allele mismatches on acute GVHD was remarkable. HLA-A and/or HLA-B allele mismatch was found to be a significant factor for the occurrence of chronic GVHD. HLA class I (A, B, and/or C) allele mismatch caused a significantly higher incidence of engraftment failure than HLA match. Significant association of HLA-C allele mismatch with leukemia relapse was not observed. As the result of these events, HLA-A and/or HLA-B allele mismatch reduced overall survival remarkably in both standard-risk and high-risk leukemia cases, whereas the HLA-C mismatch or HLA-class II (DRB1 and/or DQB1) mismatch did not. Furthermore, multiple mismatch of the HLA locus was found to reduce survival in leukemia cases. Thus, the role of the HLA class I allele in unrelated bone marrow transplantation was elucidated. Notably, HLA-C alleles had a different mode from HLA-A or -B alleles for acute GVHD and survival.

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