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Leukemia. 2013 Mar;27(3):642-9. doi: 10.1038/leu.2012.277. Epub 2012 Oct 1.

Towards effective and safe immunotherapy after allogeneic stem cell transplantation: identification of hematopoietic-specific minor histocompatibility antigen UTA2-1.

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Department of Clinical Chemistry and Hematology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Donor T cells directed at hematopoietic system-specific minor histocompatibility antigens (mHags) are considered important cellular tools to induce therapeutic graft-versus-tumor (GvT) effects with low risk of graft-versus-host disease after allogeneic stem cell transplantation. To enable the clinical evaluation of the concept of mHag-based immunotherapy and subsequent broad implementation, the identification of more hematopoietic mHags with broad applicability is imperative. Here we describe novel mHag UTA2-1 with ideal characteristics for this purpose. We identified this antigen using genome-wide zygosity-genotype correlation analysis of a mHag-specific CD8(+) cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) clone derived from a multiple myeloma patient who achieved a long-lasting complete remission after donor lymphocyte infusion from an human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-matched sibling. UTA2-1 is a polymorphic peptide presented by the common HLA molecule HLA-A*02:01, which is encoded by the bi-allelic hematopoietic-specific gene C12orf35. Tetramer analyses demonstrated an expansion of UTA2-1-directed T cells in patient blood samples after several donor T-cell infusions that mediated clinical GvT responses. More importantly, UTA2-1-specific CTL effectively lysed mHag(+) hematopoietic cells, including patient myeloma cells, without affecting non-hematopoietic cells. Thus, with the capacity to induce relevant immunotherapeutic CTLs, it's HLA-A*02 restriction and equally balanced phenotype frequency, UTA2-1 is a highly valuable mHag to facilitate clinical application of mHag-based immunotherapy.

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