Blood Adv. 2020 Aug 11;4(15):3474-3485. doi: 10.1182/bloodadvances.2019000797.
Haploidentical donors are increasingly used for patients requiring hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Although several factors have been associated with transplant outcomes, the impact of HLA disparity in haploidentical HSCT (haplo-HSCT) remains unclear. We investigated the impact of HLA disparity quantified by mismatched eplets (ME) load of each HLA locus on the clinical outcome of 278 consecutive haploidentical transplants. Here, we demonstrated that the degree of HLA molecular mismatches, at individual HLA loci, may be relevant to clinical outcome in the haplo-HSCT. A significantly better overall survival was associated with higher ME load from HLA-A (hazard ratio [HR], 0.97; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.95-0.99; P = .003) and class I loci (HR, 0.99; 95% CI, 0.97-0.99; P = .045) in the host-versus-graft direction. The apparent survival advantage of HLA-A ME was primarily attributed to reduced risk in relapse associated with an increase in HLA-A ME load (subdistribution HR, 0.95; 95% CI, 0.92-0.98; P = .004). Furthermore, we have identified an association between the risk of grade 3-4 acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and a higher ME load at HLA-B and class I loci in graft-versus-host (GVH) direction. Additionally, GVH nonpermissive HLA-DPB1 mismatch defined by T-cell epitope grouping was significantly associated with relapse protection (subdistribution HR, 0.19; 95% CI, 0.06-0.59; P = .004) without a concurrent increase in GVHD. These findings indicate that alloreactivity generated by HLA disparity at certain HLA loci is associated with transplant outcomes, and ME analysis of individual HLA loci might assist donor selection and risk stratification in haplo-HSCT.