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Blood. 2009 Jan 15;113(3):726-32. doi: 10.1182/blood-2008-07-171926. Epub 2008 Oct 22.

Donors with group B KIR haplotypes improve relapse-free survival after unrelated hematopoietic cell transplantation for acute myelogenous leukemia.

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University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA.


Survival for patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is limited by treatment-related mortality (TRM) and relapse after unrelated donor (URD) hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). Natural killer (NK)-cell alloreactivity, determined by donor killer-cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIRs) and recipient HLA, correlates with successful HCT for AML. Hypothesizing that donor KIR genotype (A/A: 2 A KIR haplotypes; B/x: at least 1 B haplotype) would affect outcomes, we genotyped donors and recipients from 209 HLA-matched and 239 mismatched T-replete URD transplantations for AML. Three-year overall survival was significantly higher after transplantation from a KIR B/x donor (31% [95% CI: 26-36] vs 20% [95% CI: 13-27]; P = .007). Multivariate analysis demonstrated a 30% improvement in the relative risk of relapse-free survival with B/x donors compared with A/A donors (RR: 0.70 [95% CI: 0.55-0.88]; P = .002). B/x donors were associated with a higher incidence of chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD; RR: 1.51 [95% CI: 1.01-2.18]; P = .03), but not of acute GVHD, relapse, or TRM. This analysis demonstrates that unrelated donors with KIR B haplotypes confer significant survival benefit to patients undergoing T-replete HCT for AML. KIR genotyping of prospective donors, in addition to HLA typing, should be performed to identify HLA-matched donors with B KIR haplotypes.

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