JOURNAL ARTICLE
MULTICENTER STUDY

Effect of donor-recipient HLA matching at HLA A, B, C, and DRB1 on outcomes after umbilical-cord blood transplantation for leukaemia and myelodysplastic syndrome: a retrospective analysis

Mary Eapen, John P Klein, Guillermo F Sanz, Stephen Spellman, Annalisa Ruggeri, Claudio Anasetti, Maria Brown, Richard E Champlin, Joan Garcia-Lopez, Gareth Hattersely, Gesine Koegler, Mary J Laughlin, Gerard Michel, Samir K Nabhan, Franklin O Smith, Mary M Horowitz, Eliane Gluckman, Vanderson Rocha
Lancet Oncology 2011, 12 (13): 1214-21
21982422

BACKGROUND: The importance of matching at the HLA C locus has not been well defined for unrelated umbilical-cord blood transplantation. The selection algorithm for umbilical-cord blood units generally considers intermediate resolution HLA typing at A and B and allele-level typing at DRB1. We aimed to establish the relative importance of additional matching at HLA C.

METHODS: We used Cox regression to assess retrospectively the effect of donor-recipient HLA matching on outcomes of single umbilical-cord blood transplantations for leukaemia and myelodysplastic syndrome. Our primary endpoint was transplant-related mortality. HLA typing was done with molecular techniques with a minimum of intermediate resolution for HLA A, B, and C, and at the allele-level for DRB1.

FINDINGS: The median age of our study population was 10 years (range <1-62) and 552 (69%) of 803 patients were aged 16 years or younger at transplantation. Compared with transplantations matched at HLA A, B, C, and DRB1 (n=69), transplant-related mortality risk was higher after transplantations matched at HLA A, B, and DRB1 and mismatched at HLA C (n=23; HR 3·97, 95% CI 1·27-12·40; p=0·018). Transplant-related mortality risk was also higher after transplantations with a single mismatch at HLA A, B, or DRB1 and mismatched at HLA C (n=234; 1·70, 1·06-2·74; p=0·029) compared with transplantations matched at HLA C with a single mismatch at HLA A, B, or DRB1 (n=127). Assessing the overall effect of HLA disparity on transplant-related mortality, risks were higher with units mismatched at two (n=259; 3·27, 1·42-7·54; p=0·006), three (n=253; 3·34, 1·45-7·71; p=0·005), or four (n=75; 3·51, 1·44-8·58; p=0·006) loci compared with matched units (n=69).

INTERPRETATION: Our data suggest that the present strategy for umbilical-cord blood unit selection should be reassessed; matching at HLA C for units that are matched at HLA A, B, or DRB1 or in the presence of a single locus mismatch at HLA A, B, or DRB1 should be included to minimise mortality risks.

FUNDING: National Cancer Institute, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, US Department of the Navy, Children's Leukemia Research Association, and INSERM.

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