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Int J Stem Cells. 2018 Dec 31;12(1):73-83. doi: 10.15283/ijsc18094.

Predictive Role of Circulating Immune Cell Subtypes Early after Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation in Patients with Acute Leukemia.

Author information

1
Department of Hematology, Seoul St. Mary's Hematology Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea.
2
Leukemia Research Institute, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea.
3
Department of Hematology, Incheon St. Mary's Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Incheon, Korea.
4
Department of Hematology, Yeoido St. Mary's Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea.

Abstract

Background and Objectives:

Cells of innate immunity normally recover in the first weeks to months after allogenenic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT). Their relevance in terms of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and graft-versus-leukemia (GVL) effect is largely unknown. The predictive role of early recovery in the immune cells on acute GVHD and GVL effect after allo-HSCT was investigated in patients with acute leukemia who achieved the first complete remission.

Methods:

Peripheral blood samples were taken at the median of 14 days (range, 12∼29 days) after allo-HSCT. A cohort including 119 samples and characteristics of patients were analyzed. Immune cell populations were identified by flow cytometry.

Results:

The median age was 49.0 years (range, 21∼69) at transplantation. Univariate analysis showed that age less than 40 years old, lower frequencies of CD8+ T cells, invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells, monocytic myeloid derived suppressor cells (M-MDSCs) and higher frequency of immature MDSCs were associated with occurrence of grade III-IV acute GVHD. Multivariate analyses showed that iNKT cells (hazard ratio (HR), 0.453, 95% CI, 0.091∼0.844, p=0.024) and M-MDSCs (HR, 0.271, 95% CI, 0.078∼0.937, p=0.039) were independent factors. Combination of higher frequencies of both cell subsets was associated with lower incidence of grade III-IV acute GVHD, whereas patients with lower frequency of iNKT cells and higher frequency of M-MDSCs showed significant higher probability of relapse.

Conclusions:

iNKT cells and M-MDSCs could be relevant cell biomarkers for predicting acute GVHD and/or relapse in acute leukemia patients treated with allo-HSCT.

KEYWORDS:

Acute leukemia; Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation; Graft-versus-host disease; Graft-versus-leukemia effect; Invariant NKT cells; Myeloid-derived suppressor cells

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