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Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 2013 Jan;19(1):40-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bbmt.2012.07.020. Epub 2012 Aug 4.

Patient HLA-DP-specific CD4+ T cells from HLA-DPB1-mismatched donor lymphocyte infusion can induce graft-versus-leukemia reactivity in the presence or absence of graft-versus-host disease.

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Department of Hematology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, the Netherlands.


Clinical studies have demonstrated that HLA-DPB1-mismatched allogeneic stem cell transplantation (allo-SCT) is associated with a decreased risk of disease relapse and an increased risk of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) compared with HLA-DPB1-matched SCT. In T cell-depleted allo-SCT, mismatching of HLA-DPB1 was not associated with an increased risk of severe GVHD, but a significant decreased risk of disease relapse was still observed. To investigate whether patient HLA-DP-specific CD4(+) T cell responses were frequently induced after T cell-depleted HLA-DPB1-mismatched allo-SCT and donor lymphocyte infusion (DLI), we developed a method to screen for the presence of HLA-DP-specific CD4(+) T cells using CD137 as an activation marker and analyzed 24 patient-donor combinations. The patients suffered from various B cell malignancies, multiple myeloma, and myeloid leukemias. Patient HLA-DP-specific CD4(+) T cells were detected after DLI in 13 of 18 patients who exhibited a clinical response to DLI, compared with only 1 of 6 patients without a clinical response to DLI. Eight patients developed significant GVHD. These data show that patient HLA-DP-specific CD4(+) T cells frequently occur after HLA-DPB1-mismatched T cell-depleted allo-SCT and DLI, and are associated with graft-versus-leukemia reactivity both in the presence and absence of GVHD.

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