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Blood. 2003 Aug 1;102(3):1131-7. Epub 2003 Apr 10.

Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation: contrasting the outcome of transplantations from HLA-identical siblings, partially HLA-mismatched related donors, and HLA-matched unrelated donors.

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Department of Bone Marrow Transplantation, Institute of Immunology, University Hospital of Essen, Essen, Germany.


Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is a proven curative therapy for many hematologic malignancies. HSCT from HLA-identical sibling donors (ISDs) is still the golden standard. For the remaining 70% of the patients lacking an ISD, alternative (partially) HLA-matched family donors (MFDs) and HLA-matched unrelated donors (MUDs) are now widely accepted. However, it is presently unclear whether outcome after HSCT from an MFD or an MUD is superior. Thus, the classical clinical end points after HSCT from an ISD (n = 138), MFD (n = 86), and MUD (n = 101) were compared by means of univariate and multivariate statistical analyses. MFD transplantations with HLA class II (DRB1 +/- DQB1) mismatches in graft-versus-host (GVH) direction showed an increased risk of grades II to IV graft-versus-host disease, and MFD transplantations with more than a single HLA class I (A +/- B +/- C) mismatch in host-versus-graft (HVG) direction were associated with a higher risk of graft failure. However, no significant difference in overall survival was detectable among the 3 study groups after adjustment for the main predictors of transplantation outcome. Thus, for patients lacking an ISD, an already identified MFD with an HLA-DRB1 +/- DQB1 mismatch in GVH or a combined HLA-A +/- B +/- C mismatch in HVG direction should be accepted only in clinically urgent settings that leave no time to identify an MUD.

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