Publications by authors named "Stephen R Spellman"

109 Publications

Chronic Graft-Versus-Host Disease, Non-Relapse Mortality and Disease Relapse in Older versus Younger Adults Undergoing Matched Allogeneic Peripheral Blood Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation: A CIBMTR Analysis.

Transplant Cell Ther 2021 Oct 9. Epub 2021 Oct 9.

CIBMTR® (Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research), Department of Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI; Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA.

Background: The effect of chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD) on the risk of non-relapse mortality (NRM) and relapse has not been specifically studied in older adults, who are increasingly undergoing allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (alloHCT) and surviving long-term to develop cGVHD. In this Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research analysis, we tested our hypothesis that the risk of NRM was higher with the development of cGVHD, particularly among older adults (≥60 years).

Methods: We included 4429 adults ≥40 years who received first HLA-matched peripheral blood alloHCT for acute myeloid leukemia or myelodysplastic syndrome between the years 2008-2017. We compared outcomes of 4 groups: older adults (≥60 years) and younger adults (40-59 years) with or without cGVHD to determine the effect of older age and cGVHD on various outcomes. We used Cox proportional hazard models to determine the risk of NRM, relapse and overall survival (OS). We treated cGVHD as a time-dependent covariate. Severity of cGVHD was based on the CIBMTR clinical definitions.

Results: cGVHD was significantly associated with a higher risk of NRM and lower risk of relapse regardless of age. The risk of NRM was higher among older versus younger adults. Adults who developed cGVHD as a group had longer OS, compared to age-matched cohorts without cGVHD. Older adults had worse OS regardless of cGVHD. Among adults with cGVHD, clinically moderate or severe cGVHD was associated with a significantly higher risk of NRM and lower risk of relapse; severe cGVHD was associated with shorter OS, whereas mild and moderate cGVHD were associated with longer OS.

Conclusions: Among both younger and older adults, the development of cGVHD was associated with a higher risk of NRM, lower risk of relapse and longer OS. Older adults had a higher risk of NRM but the increased risk of NRM associated with cGVHD did not differ based on age. Development of mild-moderate cGVHD offered the most favorable balance between minimizing NRM and decreasing relapses. The relapse risk was lowest for adults with severe cGVHD, but high NRM resulted in shorter OS. Developing strategies to avoid clinically severe cGVHD is critically important.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtct.2021.10.002DOI Listing
October 2021

Donor Killer Immunoglobulin Receptor Gene Content and Ligand Matching and Outcomes of Pediatric Patients with Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia Following Unrelated Donor Transplantation.

Transplant Cell Ther 2021 Aug 15. Epub 2021 Aug 15.

Division of Pediatric Hematology, Oncology, Blood and Marrow Transplant, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio; Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Diseases, Abigail Wexner Research Institute, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio.

Natural killer (NK) cell determinants predict relapse-free survival after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) for acute myelogenous leukemia, and previous studies have shown a beneficial graft-versus-leukemia effect in patients with juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML). However, whether NK cell determinants predict protection against relapse for JMML patients undergoing HCT is unknown. Therefore, we investigated NK cell-related donor and recipient immunogenetics as determinants of HCT outcomes in patients with JMML. Patients with JMML (age 0 to <19 years) who underwent a first allogeneic HCT from an unrelated donor between 2000 and 2017 and had available donor samples from the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research Repository were included. Donor killer immunoglobulin receptor (KIR) typing was performed on pre-HCT samples. The primary endpoint was disease-free survival (DFS); secondary endpoints included relapse, grade II-IV acute graft versus-host-disease (aGVHD), chronic GVHD (cGVHD), GVHD-free relapse-free survival, transplantation-related mortality, and overall survival (OS). Donor KIR models tested included KIR genotype (AA versus Bx), B content (0-1 versus ≥2), centromeric and telomeric region score (AA versus AB versus BB), B content score (best, better, or neutral), composite score (2 versus 3 versus 4), activating KIR content, and the presence of KIR2DS4. Ligand-ligand and KIR-ligand mismatch effects on outcomes were analyzed in HLA-mismatched donors (≤7/8; n = 74) only. Univariate analyses were performed for primary and secondary outcomes of interest, with a P value <.05 considered significant. One hundred sixty-five patients (113 males), with a median follow-up of 85 months (range, 6 to 216 months) met the study criteria. Of these, 111 underwent an unrelated donor HCT and 54 underwent a UCB HCT. Almost all (n = 161; 98%) received a myeloablative conditioning regimen. After exclusion of recipients of reduced-intensity/nonmyeloablative conditioning regimens and ex vivo T cell-depleted grafts (n = 8), there were 42 AA donors and 115 Bx donors, respectively. Three-year DFS, OS, relapse, and GRFS for the entire cohort were 58% (95% confidence interval [CI], 50% to 66%), 67% (95% CI, 59% to 74%), 26% (95% CI, 19% to 33%), and 27% (95% CI, 19% to 35%), respectively. The cumulative incidence of grade II-IV aGVHD at 100 days was 36% (95% CI, 27% to 44%), and that of cGVHD at 1 year was 23% (95% CI, 17% to 30%). There were no differences between AA donors and Bx donors for any recipient survival outcomes. The risk of grade II-IV aGVHD was lower in patients with donors with a B content score of ≥2 (hazard ratio [HR], 0.46; 95% CI, 0.26 to 0.83; P = .01), an activating KIR content score of >3 (HR, 0.52; 95% CI, 0.29 to 0.95; P = .032), centromeric A/B score (HR, 0.57; 95% CI, 033 to 0.98; P = .041), and telomeric A/B score (HR, 0.58; 95% CI, 0.34 to 1.00; P = .048). To our knowledge, this is the first study analyzing the association of NK cell determinants and outcomes in JMML HCT recipients. This study identifies potential benefits of donor KIR-B genotypes in reducing aGVHD. Our findings warrant further study of the role of NK cells in enhancing the graft-versus-leukemia effect via recognition of JMML blasts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtct.2021.08.009DOI Listing
August 2021

Prognostic impact of pre-transplant chromosomal aberrations in peripheral blood of patients undergoing unrelated donor hematopoietic cell transplant for acute myeloid leukemia.

Sci Rep 2021 07 22;11(1):15004. Epub 2021 Jul 22.

Clinical Genetics Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, 9609 Medical Center Dr., Rockville, MD, 20850, USA.

To improve risk stratification and treatment decisions for patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) undergoing hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). We used SNP-array data from the DISCOVeRY-BMT study to detect chromosomal aberrations in pre-HCT peripheral blood (collected 2-4 weeks before the administration of conditioning regimen) from 1974 AML patients who received HCT between 2000 and 2011. All aberrations detected in ≥ 10 patients were tested for their association with overall survival (OS), separately by remission status, using the Kaplan-Meier estimator. Cox regression models were used for multivariable analyses. Follow-up was through January 2019. We identified 701 unique chromosomal aberrations in 285 patients (7% of 1438 in complete remission (CR) and 36% of 536 not in CR). Copy-neutral loss-of-heterozygosity (CNLOH) in chr17p in CR patients (3-year OS = 20% vs. 50%, with and without chr17p CNLOH, p = 0.0002), and chr13q in patients not in CR (3-year OS = 4% vs. 26%, with and without chr13q CNLOH, p < 0.0001) are risk factors for poor survival. Models adjusted for clinical factors showed approximately three-fold excess risk of post-HCT mortality with chr17p CNLOH in CR patients (hazard ratio, HR = 3.39, 95% confidence interval CI 1.74-6.60, p = 0.0003), or chr13q CNLOH in patients not in CR (HR = 2.68, 95% CI 1.75-4.09, p < 0.0001). The observed mortality was mostly driven by post-HCT relapse (HR = 2.47, 95% CI 1.01-6.02, p = 0.047 for chr17p CNLOH in CR patients, and HR = 2.58, 95% CI 1.63-4.08, p < 0.0001 for chr13q CNLOH in patients not in CR. Pre-transplant CNLOH in chr13q or chr17p predicts risk of poor outcomes after unrelated donor HCT in AML patients. A large prospective study is warranted to validate the results and evaluate novel strategies to improve survival in those patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-94539-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8298542PMC
July 2021

Corrigendum: A Detailed View of KIR Haplotype Structures and Gene Families as Provided by a New Motif-Based Multiple Sequence Alignment.

Front Immunol 2021 1;12:724357. Epub 2021 Jul 1.

Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, University of Minnesota, Rochester, MN, United States.

[This corrects the article DOI: 10.3389/fimmu.2020.585731.].
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2021.724357DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8282192PMC
July 2021

Neither Donor nor Recipient Mitochondrial Haplotypes Are Associated with Unrelated Donor Transplant Outcomes: A Validation Study from the CIBMTR.

Transplant Cell Ther 2021 Oct 23;27(10):836.e1-836.e7. Epub 2021 Jun 23.

University of Colorado Denver, Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders, Denver, Colorado.

Graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD) is a multistep process that involves T-cell recognition and priming toward alloantigen, expansion, acquisition of effector function, and repeated tissue injury, resulting in clinical manifestations of the disease. All of these processes have considerable metabolic demands and understanding the key role of mitochondria in cellular metabolism as it relates to GVHD has increased significantly. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplotypes have been linked to functional differences in vitro, suggesting they have functional differences at an organismal level. We previously used mtDNA typing to assess the impact of mtDNA haplotypes on outcomes of ~400 allo-HCT patients. This pilot study identified uncommon mtDNA haplotypes potentially associated with inferior outcomes. We sought to validate pilot findings of associations between donor and recipient mitochondrial haplotypes and transplant outcome. We examined a cohort of 4143 donor-recipient pairs obtained from the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research. MtDNA was extracted from whole blood or peripheral blood mononuclear cells from donors and recipients and sequenced to discern haplotype. We used multiple regression analysis to examine the independent association of mtDNA haplotype with overall survival and grade III-IV acute GVHD (aGVHD) adjusting for known risk factors for poor transplant outcome. Neither recipient nor donor mtDNA haplotype reached groupwise significance for overall survival (P =.26 and .39, respectively) or grade III-IV aGVHD (P = .68 and.57, respectively). Adjustment for genomically determined ancestry in the subset of donor-recipient pairs for which this was available did not materially change results. We conclude that our original finding was due to chance in a small sample size and that there is essentially no evidence that mtDNA haplotype or haplotype mismatch contributes to risk of serious outcomes after allogeneic transplantation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtct.2021.06.019DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8478819PMC
October 2021

Following Transplantation for Acute Myelogenous Leukemia, Donor Better Protects against Relapse than .

J Immunol 2021 Jun 11. Epub 2021 Jun 11.

Department of Structural Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA;

In the treatment of acute myelogenous leukemia with allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation, we previously demonstrated that there is a greater protection from relapse of leukemia when the hematopoietic cell transplantation donor has either the / genotype or a genotype having two or more gene segments. In those earlier analyses, genotyping could only be assessed at the low resolution of gene presence or absence. To give the analysis greater depth, we developed high-resolution sequence-based typing that defines all the alleles and distinguishes the expressed alleles from those that are not expressed. We now describe and analyze high-resolution genotypes for 890 donors of this human transplant cohort. and are the common haplotypes, with having evolved from by deletion of the , , , and genes. We observed a consistent trend for to provide stronger protection against relapse than This correlation indicates that protection depends on the donor having inhibitory KIR2DL2 and/or activating KIR2DS2, and is enhanced by the donor lacking inhibitory KIR2DL1, 2DL3, and 3DL1. High-resolution KIR typing has allowed us to compare the strength of the interactions between the recipient's HLA class I and the KIR expressed by the donor-derived NK cells and T cells, but no clinically significant interactions were observed. The trend observed between donor and reduced relapse of leukemia points to the value of studying ever larger transplant cohorts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.2100119DOI Listing
June 2021

DNA-methylation-based telomere length estimator: comparisons with measurements from flow FISH and qPCR.

Aging (Albany NY) 2021 06 3;13(11):14675-14686. Epub 2021 Jun 3.

Clinical Genetics Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Rockville, MD 20850, USA.

Telomere length (TL) is a marker of biological aging associated with several health outcomes. High throughput reproducible TL measurements are needed for large epidemiological studies. We compared the novel DNA methylation-based estimator (DNAmTL) with the high-throughput quantitative PCR (qPCR) and the highly accurate flow cytometry with fluorescent hybridization (flow FISH) methods using blood samples from healthy adults. We used Pearson's correlation coefficient, Bland Altman plots and linear regression models for statistical analysis. Shorter DNAmTL was associated with older age, male sex, white race, and cytomegalovirus seropositivity (p<0.01 for all). DNAmTL was moderately correlated with qPCR TL (N=635, r=0.41, < 0.0001) and flow FISH total lymphocyte TL (N=144, r=0.56, < 0.0001). The agreements between flow FISH TL and DNAmTL or qPCR were acceptable but with wide limits of agreement. DNAmTL correctly classified >70% of TL categorized above or below the median, but the accuracy dropped with increasing TL categories. The ability of DNAmTL to detect associations with age and other TL-related factors in the absence of strong correlation with measured TL may indicate its capture of aspects of telomere maintenance mechanisms and not necessarily TL. The inaccuracy of DNAmTL prediction should be considered during data interpretation and across-study comparisons.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/aging.203126DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8221337PMC
June 2021

The clinical and functional effects of TERT variants in myelodysplastic syndrome.

Blood 2021 Sep;138(10):898-911

Division of Hematological Malignancies, Department of Medical Oncology, and.

Germline pathogenic TERT variants are associated with short telomeres and an increased risk of developing myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) among patients with a telomere biology disorder. We identified TERT rare variants in 41 of 1514 MDS patients (2.7%) without a clinical diagnosis of a telomere biology disorder who underwent allogeneic transplantation. Patients with a TERT rare variant had shorter telomere length (P < .001) and younger age at MDS diagnosis (52 vs 59 years, P = .03) than patients without a TERT rare variant. In multivariable models, TERT rare variants were associated with inferior overall survival (P = .034) driven by an increased incidence of nonrelapse mortality (NRM; P = .015). Death from a noninfectious pulmonary cause was more frequent among patients with a TERT rare variant. Most variants were missense substitutions and classified as variants of unknown significance. Therefore, we cloned all rare missense variants and quantified their impact on telomere elongation in a cell-based assay. We found that 90% of TERT rare variants had severe or intermediate impairment in their capacity to elongate telomeres. Using a homology model of human TERT bound to the shelterin protein TPP1, we inferred that TERT rare variants disrupt domain-specific functions, including catalysis, protein-RNA interactions, and recruitment to telomeres. Our results indicate that the contribution of TERT rare variants to MDS pathogenesis and NRM risk is underrecognized. Routine screening for TERT rare variants in MDS patients regardless of age or clinical suspicion may identify clinically inapparent telomere biology disorders and improve transplant outcomes through risk-adapted approaches.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood.2021011075DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8432045PMC
September 2021

Optimal Donor Selection for Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation Using Bayesian Machine Learning.

JCO Clin Cancer Inform 2021 05;5:494-507

Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR), Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI.

Purpose: Donor selection practices for matched unrelated donor (MUD) hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) vary, and the impact of optimizing donor selection in a patient-specific way using modern machine learning (ML) models has not been studied.

Methods: We trained a Bayesian ML model in 10,318 patients who underwent MUD HCT from 1999 to 2014 to provide patient- and donor-specific predictions of clinically severe (grade 3 or 4) acute graft-versus-host disease or death by day 180. The model was validated in 3,501 patients from 2015 to 2016 with archived records of potential donors at search. Donor selection optimizing predicted outcomes was implemented over either an unlimited donor pool or the donors in the search archives. Posterior mean differences in outcomes from optimal donor selection versus actual practice were summarized per patient and across the population with 95% intervals.

Results: Event rates were 33% (training) and 37% (validation). Among donor features, only age affected outcomes, with the effect consistent regardless of patient features. The median (interquartile range) difference in age between the youngest donor at search and the selected donor was 6 (1-10) years, whereas the number of donors per patient younger than the selected donor was 6 (1-36). Fourteen percent of the validation data set had an approximate 5% absolute reduction in event rates from selecting the youngest donor at search versus the actual donor used, leading to an absolute population reduction of 1% (95% interval, 0 to 3).

Conclusion: We confirmed the singular importance of selecting the youngest available MUD, irrespective of patient features, identified potential for improved HCT outcomes by selecting a younger MUD, and demonstrated use of novel ML models transferable to optimize other complex treatment decisions in a patient-specific way.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/CCI.20.00185DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8443829PMC
May 2021

National Marrow Donor Program-Sponsored Multicenter, Phase II Trial of HLA-Mismatched Unrelated Donor Bone Marrow Transplantation Using Post-Transplant Cyclophosphamide.

J Clin Oncol 2021 Jun 27;39(18):1971-1982. Epub 2021 Apr 27.

The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, MD.

Purpose: Hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) is curative for hematologic disorders, but outcomes are historically inferior when using HLA-mismatched donors. Despite unrelated donor registries listing > 38 million volunteers, 25%-80% of US patients lack an HLA-matched unrelated donor, with significant disparity across ethnic groups. We hypothesized that HCT with a mismatched unrelated donor (MMUD) using post-transplant cyclophosphamide (PTCy), a novel strategy successful in overcoming genetic disparity using mismatched related donors, would be feasible and increase access to HCT.

Patients And Methods: We performed a prospective phase II study of MMUD bone marrow HCT with PTCy for patients with hematologic malignancies. The primary end point was 1-year overall survival (OS), hypothesized to be 65% or better. 80 patients enrolled at 11 US transplant centers (December 2016-March 2019). Following myeloablative or reduced-intensity conditioning-based HCT, patients received PTCy on days +3, +4, with sirolimus and mycophenolate mofetil starting on day +5. We compared outcomes to Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research contemporary controls receiving PTCy.

Results: Notably, 48% of patients enrolled were ethnic minorities. 39% of pairs were matched for 4-6 out of 8 HLA alleles. The primary end point was met, with 1-year OS of 76% (90% CI, 67.3 to 83.3) in the entire cohort, and 72% and 79% in the myeloablative and reduced-intensity conditioning strata, respectively. Secondary end points related to engraftment and graft-versus-host-disease were reached. Multivariate analysis comparing the study group with other mismatched HCT controls found no significant differences in OS.

Conclusion: Our prospective study demonstrates the feasibility and effectiveness of HCT with an MMUD in the setting of PTCy. Remarkably, nearly half of the study participants belonged to an ethnic minority population, suggesting this approach may significantly expand access to HCT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.20.03502DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8260905PMC
June 2021

The Effect of Donor Graft Cryopreservation on Allogeneic Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation Outcomes: A Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research Analysis. Implications during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Transplant Cell Ther 2021 06 22;27(6):507-516. Epub 2021 Mar 22.

Division of Hematology & Oncology, Department of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida. Electronic address:

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the increased use of cryopreserved grafts for allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). However, information about the effect of cryopreservation on outcomes for patients receiving allogeneic donor grafts is limited. We evaluated outcomes of HCT recipients who received either fresh or cryopreserved allogeneic bone marrow (BM) or peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) grafts reported to the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research. A total of 7397 patients were included in the analysis. Recipients of cryopreserved graft were divided into 3 cohorts based on graft source: HLA-matched related PBSC donors (n = 1051), matched unrelated PBSC donors (n = 678), and matched related or unrelated BM donors (n = 154). These patients were propensity score matched with 5514 patients who received fresh allografts. The primary endpoint was engraftment. Multivariate analyses showed no significant increased risk of delayed engraftment, relapse, nonrelapse mortality (NRM), or survival with cryopreservation of BM grafts. In contrast, cryopreservation of related donor PBSC grafts was associated with decreased platelet recovery (hazard ratio [HR], 0.73; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.68 to 0.78; P < .001) and an increased risk of grade II-IV (HR, 1.27; 95% CI, 1.09 to 1.48; P = .002) and grade III-IV (HR, 1.48; 95% CI, 1.19 to 1.84; P < .001) acute graft-versus-host disease. Cryopreservation of unrelated PBSC grafts was associated with delayed engraftment of neutrophils (HR, 0.77; 95% CI, 0.71 to 0.84; P < .001) and platelets (HR, 0.61; 95% CI, 0.56 to 0.66; P < .001) as well as an increased risk of NRM (HR, 1.4; 95% CI, 1.18 to 1.66; P < .001) and relapse (HR, 1.32; 95% CI, 1.11 to 1.58; P = .002) and decreased progression-free survival (HR, 1.36; 95% CI, 1.20 to 1.55; P < .001) and overall survival (OS) (HR, 1.38; 95% CI, 1.22 to 1.58; P < .001). Reasons for cryopreservation were not routinely collected; however, in a subset of unrelated donor HCT recipients, the reason was typically a change in patient condition. Products cryopreserved for patient reasons were significantly associated with inferior OS in multivariate analysis (HR, 0.65; 95% CI, 0.44 to 0.96; P = .029). We conclude that cryopreservation is associated with slower engraftment of PBSC grafts, which may be associated with inferior transplantation outcomes in some patient populations. However, the small numbers in the cryopreserved BM cohort and the lack of information on the reason for cryopreservation in all patients suggests that these data should be interpreted with caution, particularly in the context of the risks associated with unexpected loss of a graft during the pandemic. Future analyses addressing outcomes when cryopreservation is universally applied are urgently required.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtct.2021.03.015DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8217124PMC
June 2021

Epigenetic Aging and Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation in Patients With Severe Aplastic Anemia.

Transplant Cell Ther 2021 04 16;27(4):313.e1-313.e8. Epub 2021 Jan 16.

Clinical Genetics Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology & Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland. Electronic address:

Cellular aging in hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) is important in the context of immune reconstitution and age-related complications. Recently, several DNA-methylation (DNAm)-based biomarkers of aging known as "epigenetic clocks" have been introduced as novel tools to predict cellular age. Here, we used Cox proportional hazards models to assess the possible associations of donor pre-HCT DNAm age, and its post-HCT changes, using the recently published lifespan-associated epigenetic clock known as "DNAm-GrimAge," with outcomes among patients with severe aplastic anemia (SAA). The study included 732 SAA patients from the Transplant Outcomes in Aplastic Anemia project, who underwent unrelated donor HCT and for whom a donor pre-HCT blood DNA sample was available; 41 also had a post-HCT sample collected at day 100. In multivariable analyses, we found similar associations for donor chronological age and pre-HCT DNAm-GrimAge with post-HCT survival (hazard ratio [HR] per decade = 1.13; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.99-1.28; P = .07 and HR = 1.14; 95% CI, 0.99-1.28; P = .06, respectively). In donors with 10+ years of GrimAge acceleration (ie, deviation from expected DNAm age for chronological age), elevated risks of chronic graft versus host disease (HR = 2.4; 95% CI, 1.21-4.65; P = .01) and possibly post-HCT mortality (HR = 1.79; 95% CI, 0.96-3.33; P = .07) were observed. In the subset with post-HCT samples, we observed a significant increase in DNAm-GrimAge in the first 100 days after HCT (median change 12.5 years, range 1.4 to 26.4). Higher DNAm-GrimAge after HCT was associated with inferior survival (HR per year = 1.11; 95% CI, 1.02-1.21; P = .01), predominantly within the first year after HCT. This study highlights the possible role cellular aging may play in HCT outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtct.2021.01.013DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8036238PMC
April 2021

Impact of Previously Unrecognized HLA Mismatches Using Ultrahigh Resolution Typing in Unrelated Donor Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation.

J Clin Oncol 2021 Jul 9;39(21):2397-2409. Epub 2021 Apr 9.

Anthony Nolan Research Institute, Royal Free Hospital, London, UK.

Purpose: Ultrahigh resolution (UHR) HLA matching is reported to result in better outcomes following unrelated donor hematopoietic cell transplantation, improving survival and reducing post-transplant complications. However, most studies included relatively small numbers of patients. Here we report the findings from a large, multicenter validation study.

Methods: UHR HLA typing was available on 5,140 conventionally 10 out of 10 HLA-matched patients with malignant disease transplanted between 2008 and 2017.

Results: After UHR HLA typing, 82% of pairs remained 10 out of 10 UHR-matched; 12.3% of patients were 12 out of 12 UHR HLA-matched. Compared with 12 out of 12 UHR-matched patients, probabilities of grade 2-4 acute graft-versus-host disease (aGVHD) were significantly increased with UHR mismatches (overall = .0019) and in those patients who were HLA-DPB1 T-cell epitope permissively mismatched or nonpermissively mismatched (overall = .0011). In the T-cell-depleted subset, the degree of UHR HLA mismatch was only associated with increased transplant-related mortality (TRM) (overall = .0068). In the T-cell-replete subset, UHR HLA matching was associated with a lower probability of aGVHD (overall = .0020); 12 out of 12 UHR matching was associated with reduced TRM risk when compared with HLA-DPB1 T-cell epitope permissively mismatched patients, whereas nonpermissive mismatching resulted in a greater risk (overall = .0003).

Conclusion: This study did not confirm that UHR 12 out of 12 HLA matching increases the probability of overall survival but does demonstrate that aGVHD risk, and in certain settings TRM, is lowest in UHR HLA-matched pairs and thus warrants consideration when multiple 10 out of 10 HLA-matched donors of equivalent age are available.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.20.03643DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8280068PMC
July 2021

Broad-Spectrum Antibiotics and Risk of Graft-versus-Host Disease in Pediatric Patients Undergoing Transplantation for Acute Leukemia: Association of Carbapenem Use with the Risk of Acute Graft-versus-Host Disease

Transplant Cell Ther 2021 02 21;27(2):177.e1-177.e8. Epub 2020 Dec 21.

Center for Pediatric Clinical Effectiveness, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA.

Variation in the gastrointestinal (GI) microbiota after hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) has been associated with acute graft-versus-host disease (aGVHD). Because antibiotics induce dysbiosis, we examined the association of broad-spectrum antibiotics with subsequent aGVHD risk in pediatric patients undergoing HCT for acute leukemia. We performed a retrospective analysis in a dataset merged from 2 sources: (1) the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research, an observational transplantation registry, and (2) the Pediatric Health Information Services, an administrative database from freestanding children's hospitals. We captured exposure to 3 classes of antibiotics used for empiric treatment of febrile neutropenia: (1) broad-spectrum cephalosporins, (2) antipseudomonal penicillins, and (3) carbapenems. The primary outcome was grade II-IV aGVHD; secondary outcomes were grade III-IV aGVHD and lower GI GVHD. The adjusted logistic regression model (full cohort) and time-to-event analysis (subcohort) included transplantation characteristics, GVHD risk factors, and adjunctive antibiotic exposures as covariates. The full cohort included 2550 patients at 36 centers; the subcohort included 1174 patients. In adjusted models, carbapenems were associated with an increased risk of grade II-IV aGVHD in the full cohort (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.24; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.02 to 1.51) and subcohort (sub hazard ratio [HR], 1.31; 95% CI, 0.99 to 1.72), as well as with an increased risk of grade III-IV aGVHD (subHR, 1.77; 95% CI, 1.25 to 2.52). Early carbapenem exposure (before day 0) especially impacted aGVHD risk. For antipseudomonal penicillins, the associations with aGVHD were in the direction of increased risk but were not statistically significant. There was no identified association between broad-spectrum cephalosporins and aGVHD. Carbapenems, more than other broad-spectrum antibiotics, should be used judiciously in pediatric HCT recipients to minimize aGVHD risk. Further research is needed to clarify the mechanism underlying this association.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtct.2020.10.012DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7946150PMC
February 2021

Short telomere length predicts nonrelapse mortality after stem cell transplantation for myelodysplastic syndrome.

Blood 2020 12;136(26):3070-3081

Division of Hematological Malignancies, Department of Medical Oncology, and.

Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is the only potentially curative treatment for patients with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), but long-term survival is limited by the risk of transplant-related complications. Short telomere length, mediated by inherited or acquired factors, impairs cellular response to genotoxic and replicative stress and could identify patients at higher risk for toxicity after transplantation. We measured relative telomere length in pretransplant recipient blood samples in 1514 MDS patients and evaluated the association of telomere length with MDS disease characteristics and transplantation outcomes. Shorter telomere length was significantly associated with older age, male sex, somatic mutations that impair the DNA damage response, and more severe pretransplant cytopenias, but not with bone marrow blast count, MDS treatment history, or history of prior cancer therapy. Among 1267 patients ≥40 years old, telomere length in the shortest quartile was associated with inferior survival (P < .001) because of a high risk of nonrelapse mortality (NRM; P = .001) after adjusting for significant clinical and genetic variables. The adverse impact of shorter telomeres on NRM was independent of recipient comorbidities and was observed selectively among patients receiving more intensive conditioning, including myeloablative regimens and higher dose melphalan-based reduced-intensity regimens. The effect of shorter telomeres on NRM was prominent among patients who developed severe acute graft-versus-host disease, suggesting that short telomere length may limit regenerative potential of mucosal tissues after acute injury. MDS patients with shorter telomere length, who have inferior survival driven by excess toxicity, could be considered for strategies focused on minimizing toxic effects of transplantation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood.2020005397DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7770569PMC
December 2020

A Detailed View of KIR Haplotype Structures and Gene Families as Provided by a New Motif-Based Multiple Sequence Alignment.

Front Immunol 2020 18;11:585731. Epub 2020 Nov 18.

Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, University of Minnesota, Rochester, MN, United States.

Human chromosome 19q13.4 contains genes encoding killer-cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIR). Reported haplotype lengths range from 67 to 269 kb and contain 4 to 18 genes. The region has certain properties such as single nucleotide variation, structural variation, homology, and repetitive elements that make it hard to align accurately beyond single gene alleles. To the best of our knowledge, a multiple sequence alignment of KIR haplotypes has never been published or presented. Such an alignment would be useful to precisely define KIR haplotypes and loci, provide context for assigning alleles (especially fusion alleles) to genes, infer evolutionary history, impute alleles, interpret and predict co-expression, and generate markers. In order to extend the framework of KIR haplotype sequences in the human genome reference, 27 new sequences were generated including 24 haplotypes from 12 individuals of African American ancestry that were selected for genotypic diversity and novelty to the reference, to bring the total to 68 full length genomic KIR haplotype sequences. We leveraged these data and tools from our long-read KIR haplotype assembly algorithm to define and align KIR haplotypes at <5 kb resolution on average. We then used a standard alignment algorithm to refine that alignment down to single base resolution. This processing demonstrated that the high-level alignment recapitulates human-curated annotation of the human haplotypes as well as a chimpanzee haplotype. Further, assignments and alignments of gene alleles were consistent with their human curation in haplotype and allele databases. These results define KIR haplotypes as 14 loci containing 9 genes. The multiple sequence alignments have been applied in two software packages as probes to capture and annotate KIR haplotypes and as markers to genotype KIR from WGS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2020.585731DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7708349PMC
June 2021

Specific Class I HLA Supertypes but Not HLA Zygosity or Expression Are Associated with Outcomes following HLA-Matched Allogeneic Hematopoietic Cell Transplant: HLA Supertypes Impact Allogeneic HCT Outcomes.

Transplant Cell Ther 2021 02 11;27(2):142.e1-142.e11. Epub 2020 Oct 11.

Department of Medicine, Adult Bone Marrow Transplantation Service, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York; Department of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, New York; Human Oncology & Pathogenesis Program, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York. Electronic address:

Maximizing the probability of antigen presentation to T cells through diversity in HLAs can enhance immune responsiveness and translate into improved clinical outcomes, as evidenced by the association of heterozygosity and supertypes at HLA class I loci with improved survival in patients with advanced solid tumors treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors. We investigated the impact of HLA heterozygosity, supertypes, and surface expression on outcomes in adult and pediatric patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), myelodysplastic syndrome, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma who underwent 8/8 HLA-matched, T cell replete, unrelated, allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) from 2000 to 2015 using patient data reported to the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research. HLA class I heterozygosity and HLA expression were not associated with overall survival, relapse, transplant-related mortality (TRM), disease-free survival (DFS), and acute graft-versus-host disease following HCT. The HLA-B62 supertype was associated with decreased TRM in the entire patient cohort (hazard ratio [HR], 0.79; 95% CI, 0.69 to 0.90; P = .00053). The HLA-B27 supertype was associated with worse DFS in patients with AML (HR = 1.21; 95% CI, 1.10 to 1.32; P = .00005). These findings suggest that the survival benefit of HLA heterozygosity seen in solid tumor patients receiving immune checkpoint inhibitors does not extend to patients undergoing allogeneic HCT. Certain HLA supertypes, however, are associated with TRM and DFS, suggesting that similarities in peptide presentation between supertype members play a role in these outcomes. Beyond implications for prognosis following HCT, these findings support the further investigation of these HLA supertypes and the specific immune peptides important for transplant outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbmt.2020.10.010DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8015676PMC
February 2021

Association of donor IFNL4 genotype and non-relapse mortality after unrelated donor myeloablative haematopoietic stem-cell transplantation for acute leukaemia: a retrospective cohort study.

Lancet Haematol 2020 Oct;7(10):e715-e723

Laboratory of Translational Genomics, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, NIH, Bethesda, MD, USA.

Background: The interferon lambda 4 gene (IFNL4) regulates immune responses by controlling the production of IFNλ4, a type III interferon. We hypothesised that IFNλ4 could play a role in infection clearance or alloreactivity in patients with acute leukaemia who received a myeloablative 10/10 HLA-matched haematopoietic stem-cell transplantation (HSCT). Therefore, we aimed to assess the association between recipient and donor IFNL4 genotype with post-HSCT survival outcomes in patients with acute leukaemia.

Methods: We did a two-stage retrospective cohort study using the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR) repository and database, in which nearly all patients underwent the procedure in the USA. We included patients with acute myeloid leukaemia or acute lymphocytic leukaemia, who received a HSCT at any age from an unrelated 10/10 HLA-matched donor, with a myeloablative conditioning regimen, between Jan 1, 2000, and Dec 31, 2008, and had a pre-HSCT recipient or donor blood sample available. The discovery dataset included patients from an existing National Cancer Institute (NCI) cohort of the CIBMTR database, in which donor and recipient IFNL4 polymorphisms (rs368234815, rs12979860, and rs117648444) were genotyped with TaqMan assays. According to their genotype, donors and recipients were categorised into IFNL4-positive, if they had at least one copy of the allele that supports the production of IFNλ4, or IFNL4-null for the analyses. The findings were independently validated with patients from the DISCOVeRY-BMT cohort (validation dataset) with existing Illumina array genotype data. We also did a combined analysis using data from patients included in both the NCI and DISCOVeRY-BMT cohorts.

Findings: We assessed 404 patients (who had a HSCT from Jan 9, 2004, to Dec 26, 2008) in the discovery dataset and 1245 patients in the validation dataset (HSCT Jan 7, 2000, to Dec 26, 2008). The combined analysis included 1593 overlapping participants in both cohorts. Donor, but not recipient IFNL4-positive genotype was associated with increased risk of non-relapse mortality (HR 1·60, 95% CI 1·23-2·10; p=0·0005 in the discovery dataset; 1·22, 1·05-1·40; p=0·0072 in the validation dataset; and 1·27, 1·12-1·45; p=0·0001 in the combined dataset). Associations with post-HSCT overall survival were as follows: HR 1·24, 95% CI 1·02-1·51; p=0·034 in the discovery dataset; 1·10, 0·98-1·20; p=0·10 in the validation dataset; and 1·11, 1·02-1·22; p=0·018 in the combined dataset.

Interpretation: Prioritising HSCT donors with the IFNL4-null genotype might decrease non-relapse mortality and improve overall survival without substantially limiting the donor pool. If these findings are validated, IFNL4 genotype could be added to the donor selection algorithm.

Funding: The National Cancer Institute Intramural Research Program. For full funding list see Acknowledgments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2352-3026(20)30294-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7735535PMC
October 2020

HLA-B leader and survivorship after HLA-mismatched unrelated donor transplantation.

Blood 2020 07;136(3):362-369

Basic Science Program, Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, Frederick, MD; and.

Hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) from HLA-mismatched unrelated donors can cure life-threatening blood disorders, but its success is limited by graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). HLA-B leaders encode methionine (M) or threonine (T) at position 2 and give rise to TT, MT, or MM genotypes. The dimorphic HLA-B leader informs GVHD risk in HLA-B-mismatched HCT. If the leader influences outcome in other HLA-mismatched transplant settings, the success of HCT could be improved for future patients. We determined leader genotypes for 10 415 patients receiving a transplant between 1988 and 2016 from unrelated donors with one HLA-A, HLA-B, HLA-C, HLA-DRB1, or HLA-DQB1 mismatch. Multivariate regression methods were used to evaluate risks associated with patient leader genotype according to the mismatched HLA locus and with HLA-A, HLA-B, HLA-C, HLA-DRB1, or HLA-DQB1 mismatching according to patient leader genotype. The impact of the patient leader genotype on acute GVHD and mortality varied across different mismatched HLA loci. Nonrelapse mortality was higher among HLA-DQB1-mismatched MM patients compared with HLA-DQB1-mismatched TT patients (hazard ratio, 1.35; P = .01). Grades III to IV GVHD risk was higher among HLA-DRB1-mismatched MM or MT patients compared with HLA-DRB1-mismatched TT patients (odds ratio, 2.52 and 1.51, respectively). Patients tolerated a single HLA-DQB1 mismatch better than mismatches at other loci. Outcome after HLA-mismatched transplantation depends on the HLA-B leader dimorphism and the mismatched HLA locus. The patient's leader variant provides new information on the limits of HLA mismatching. The success of HLA-mismatched unrelated transplantation might be enhanced through the judicious selection of mismatched donors for a patient's leader genotype.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood.2020005743DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7365916PMC
July 2020

Role of HLA-DP Expression in Graft-Versus-Host Disease After Unrelated Donor Transplantation.

J Clin Oncol 2020 08 1;38(24):2712-2718. Epub 2020 Jun 1.

Basic Science Program, Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, Frederick, MD.

Purpose: The main aim of this study was to evaluate the significance of HLA-DPB1 expression in acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) after hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) from HLA-A, -B, -C, -DRB1, -DQB1-matched and -mismatched unrelated donors.

Patients And Methods: Between January 1, 2017, and January 10, 2019, we assessed 19,136 patients who received HCT from an HLA-A, -B, -C, -DRB1, -DQB1-matched or -mismatched unrelated donor performed in Australia, the European Union, Japan, North America, and the United Kingdom between 1988 and 2016. Among transplant recipients with one HLA-DPB1 mismatch, the patient's mismatched HLA-DPB1 allotype was defined as low or high expression. Multivariable regression models were used to assess risks of GVHD associated with high expression relative to low expression HLA-DPB1 mismatches. The effect of increasing numbers of HLA-DPB1 mismatches on clinical outcome was assessed in HLA-mismatched transplant recipients.

Results: In HLA-A, -B, -C, -DRB1,-DQB1-matched transplant recipients, donor mismatching against one high-expression patient HLA-DPB1 increased moderate (odds ratio [OR], 1.36; = .001) and severe acute GVHD (OR, 1.32; = .0016) relative to low-expression patient mismatches, regardless of the expression level of the donor's mismatched HLA-DPB1. Among transplant recipients with one HLA-A, -B, -C, -DRB1, or -DQB1 mismatch, the odds of acute GVHD increased with increasing numbers of HLA-DPB1 mismatches (OR, 1.23 for one; OR, 1.40 for two mismatches relative to zero mismatches for moderate GVHD; OR, 1.19 for one; OR, 1.40 for two mismatches relative to zero for severe GVHD), but not with the level of expression of the patient's mismatched HLA-DPB1 allotype.

Conclusion: The level of expression of patient HLA-DPB1 mismatches informs the risk of GVHD after HLA-A, -B, -C, -DRB1, -DQB1-matched unrelated HCT, and the total number of HLA-DPB1 mismatches informs the risk of GVHD after HLA-mismatched unrelated HCT. Prospective consideration of HLA-DPB1 may help to lower GVHD risks after transplantation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.20.00265DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7430213PMC
August 2020

Current Use of and Trends in Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation in the United States.

Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 2020 08 11;26(8):e177-e182. Epub 2020 May 11.

Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Department of Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) is a well-established treatment to control and/or cure many malignant and nonmalignant diseases involving the hematopoietic system and some solid tumors. We report information about HCT procedures performed in the United States in 2018 and analyze trends and outcomes of HCT as reported to the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR). Overall, compared with 2017, the number of allogeneic HCTs performed in the United States increased by 1%, and the number of autologous HCTs decreased by 5%. Key findings are fewer autologous HCTs performed for non-Hodgkin lymphoma and increasing numbers of haploidentical HCTs, nearly all of which use post-transplantation cyclophosphamide for graft-versus-host disease prophylaxis. There is a continuing increase in HCT in adults age >70 years, particularly for acute myelogenous leukemia and myelodysplastic syndromes. Survival rates by disease, disease stage, donor type, and age are presented. This report, prepared annually by the CIBMTR, provides a snapshot of current transplant activity in the United States.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbmt.2020.04.013DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7404814PMC
August 2020

Composite GRFS and CRFS Outcomes After Adult Alternative Donor HCT.

J Clin Oncol 2020 06 4;38(18):2062-2076. Epub 2020 May 4.

Division of Clinical Hematology, Hospital de la Santa Creu I Sant Pau, Barcelona, Spain.

Purpose: There is no consensus on the best choice of an alternative donor (umbilical cord blood [UCB], haploidentical, one-antigen mismatched [7/8]-bone marrow [BM], or 7/8-peripheral blood [PB]) for hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) for patients lacking an HLA-matched related or unrelated donor.

Methods: We report composite end points of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD)-free relapse-free survival (GRFS) and chronic GVHD (cGVHD)-free relapse-free survival (CRFS) in 2,198 patients who underwent UCB (n = 838), haploidentical (n = 159), 7/8-BM (n = 241), or 7/8-PB (n = 960) HCT. All groups were divided by myeloablative conditioning (MAC) intensity or reduced intensity conditioning (RIC), except haploidentical group in which most received RIC. To account for multiple testing, < .0071 in multivariable analysis and < .00025 in direct pairwise comparisons were considered statistically significant.

Results: In multivariable analysis, haploidentical group had the best GRFS, CRFS, and overall survival (OS). In the direct pairwise comparison of other groups, among those who received MAC, there was no difference in GRFS or CRFS among UCB, 7/8-BM, and 7/8-PB with serotherapy (alemtuzumab or antithymocyte globulin) groups. In contrast, the 7/8-PB without serotherapy group had significantly inferior GRFS, higher cGVHD, and a trend toward worse CRFS (hazard ratio [HR], 1.38; 95% CI, 1.13 to 1.69; = .002) than the 7/8-BM group and higher cGVHD and trend toward inferior CRFS (HR, 1.36; 95% CI, 1.14 to 1.63; = .0006) than the UCB group. Among patients with RIC, all groups had significantly inferior GRFS and CRFS compared with the haploidentical group.

Conclusion: Recognizing the limitations of a registry retrospective analysis and the possibility of center selection bias in choosing donors, our data support the use of UCB, 7/8-BM, or 7/8-PB (with serotherapy) grafts for patients undergoing MAC HCT and haploidentical grafts for patients undergoing RIC HCT. The haploidentical group had the best GRFS, CRFS, and OS of all groups.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.19.00396DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7302955PMC
June 2020

Investigation of donor KIR content and matching in children undergoing hematopoietic cell transplantation for acute leukemia.

Blood Adv 2020 04;4(7):1350-1356

Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR), Department of Medicine, and.

Multiple models of donor killer immunoglobulin receptor (KIR) alloreactivity or KIR genotype have been reported to be protective against leukemia relapse after allogeneic transplantation. However, few studies have addressed this topic in the pediatric population. Here, we assessed the outcomes of allogeneic transplantation in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL; n = 372) or acute myeloid leukemia (AML; n = 344) who received unrelated donor (URD) transplantation and were reported to the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR) from 2005 to 2016. As expected in this pediatric population, most patients underwent myeloablative conditioning while in remission and with bone marrow as a stem cell source. We tested KIR ligand mismatch, KIR gene content (centromeric [Cen] B), KIR2DS1 mismatching, and Cen B/telomeric A using Cox regression models and found that none were significantly associated with either relapse or disease-free survival when considering the entire cohort of patients (ALL and AML), AML, or ALL separately. Moreover, there was no significant association with outcomes in the in vivo T-cell-depleted (ie, serotherapy) cohort. This study, which is the largest analysis of donor KIR in the pediatric acute leukemia population, does not support the use of KIR in the selection of URDs for children undergoing T-replete transplantation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2019001284DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7160272PMC
April 2020

Curability and transferability of atopy with allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation.

Bone Marrow Transplant 2020 07 30;55(7):1282-1289. Epub 2020 Mar 30.

University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada.

Atopy is excessive production of IgE in response to allergens. We evaluated in patients undergoing allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) the following hypotheses: (1) Atopy is "curable" in atopic patients receiving HCT from a nonatopic donor (D-R+), and (2) Atopy is transferable from atopic donors to nonatopic recipients (D+R-). Atopic patients with atopic donors (D+R+) and non-atopic patients with non-atopic donors (D-R-) served as controls. We measured levels of multiallergen-specific IgE (A-IgE, atopy defined as ≥0.35 kU/L) in sera from 54 patients and their donors pre HCT and from the patients at ≥2 years post HCT. Only 7/12 (58%) D- R+ patients became nonatopic after HCT. Only 1/11 (9%) D+R- patients became atopic. Eleven of 13 (85%) D-R- patients remained nonatopic. Unexpectedly, 11/18 (61%) D+R+ patients became nonatopic. In conclusion, contrary to our hypothesis and previous reports, the "cure" of atopy may occur in only some D-R+ patients and the transfer of atopy may occur rarely. The "cure" may not be necessarily due to the exchange of atopic for nonatopic immune system, as the "cure" may also occur in D+R+ patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41409-020-0876-7DOI Listing
July 2020

Rapid Donor Identification Improves Survival in High-Risk First-Remission Patients With Acute Myeloid Leukemia.

JCO Oncol Pract 2020 06 27;16(6):e464-e475. Epub 2020 Jan 27.

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA.

Purpose: Patients with acute myeloid leukemia with high-risk cytogenetics in first complete remission (CR1) achieve better outcomes if they undergo allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) compared with consolidation chemotherapy alone. However, only approximately 40% of such patients typically proceed to HCT.

Methods: We used a prospective organized approach to rapidly identify donors to improve the allogeneic HCT rate in adults with high-risk acute myeloid leukemia in CR1. Newly diagnosed patients had cytogenetics obtained at enrollment, and those with high-risk cytogenetics underwent expedited HLA typing and were encouraged to be referred for consultation with a transplantation team with the goal of conducting an allogeneic HCT in CR1.

Results: Of 738 eligible patients (median age, 49 years; range, 18-60 years of age), 159 (22%) had high-risk cytogenetics and 107 of these patients (67%) achieved CR1. Seventy (65%) of the high-risk patients underwent transplantation in CR1 ( < .001 compared with the historical rate of 40%). Median time to HCT from CR1 was 77 days (range, 20-356 days). In landmark analysis, overall survival (OS) among patients who underwent transplantation was significantly better compared with that of patients who did not undergo transplantation (2-year OS, 48% 35%, respectively [ = .031]). Median relapse-free survival after transplantation in the high-risk cohort who underwent transplantation in CR1 (n = 70) was 11.5 months (range, 4-47 months), and median OS after transplantation was 14 months (range, 4-44 months).

Conclusion: Early cytogenetic testing with an organized effort to identify a suitable allogeneic HCT donor led to a CR1 transplantation rate of 65% in the high-risk group, which, in turn, led to an improvement in OS when compared with the OS of patients who did not undergo transplantation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JOP.19.00133DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7291544PMC
June 2020

Genome-wide Association Study Identifies HLA-DPB1 as a Significant Risk Factor for Severe Aplastic Anemia.

Am J Hum Genet 2020 02 30;106(2):264-271. Epub 2020 Jan 30.

Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI 53226, USA; Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA 98109, USA.

Severe aplastic anemia (SAA) is a rare disorder characterized by hypoplastic bone marrow and progressive pancytopenia. The etiology of acquired SAA is not understood but is likely related to abnormal immune responses and environmental exposures. We conducted a genome-wide association study of individuals with SAA genetically matched to healthy controls in discovery (359 cases, 1,396 controls) and validation sets (175 cases, 1,059 controls). Combined analyses identified linked SNPs in distinct blocks within the major histocompatibility complex on 6p21. The top SNP encodes p.Met76Val in the P4 binding pocket of the HLA class II gene HLA-DPB1 (rs1042151A>G, odds ratio [OR] 1.75, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.50-2.03, p = 1.94 × 10) and was associated with HLA-DP cell surface expression in healthy individuals (p = 2.04 × 10). Phylogenetic analyses indicate that Val76 is not monophyletic and likely occurs in conjunction with different HLA-DP binding groove conformations. Imputation of HLA-DPB1 alleles revealed increased risk of SAA associated with Val76-encoding alleles DPB103:01, (OR 1.66, p = 1.52 × 10), DPB110:01 (OR 2.12, p = 0.0003), and DPB101:01 (OR 1.60, p = 0.0008). A second SNP near HLA-B, rs28367832G>A, reached genome-wide significance (OR 1.49, 95% CI 1.22-1.78, p = 7.27 × 10) in combined analyses; the association remained significant after excluding cases with clonal copy-neutral loss-of-heterozygosity affecting class I HLA genes (8.6% of cases and 0% of controls). SNPs in the HLA class II gene HLA-DPB1 and possibly class I (HLA-B) are associated with SAA. The replacement of Met76 to Val76 in certain HLA-DPB1 alleles might influence risk of SAA through mechanisms involving DP peptide binding specificity, expression, and/or other factors affecting DP function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2020.01.004DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7010969PMC
February 2020

Population Frequency of Fanconi Pathway Gene Variants and Their Association with Survival After Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation for Severe Aplastic Anemia.

Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 2020 05 23;26(5):817-822. Epub 2020 Jan 23.

Clinical Genetics Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland.

Severe aplastic anemia (SAA) is most frequently immune-mediated; however, rare inherited bone marrow failure syndromes, such as Fanconi anemia (FA), may be causal and can present as aplastic anemia (AA). FA is primarily an autosomal recessive disorder caused by the presence of 2 pathogenic variants in a single FA/BRCA DNA repair pathway gene. Patients with SAA often undergo genetic testing during clinical evaluation that may identify single deleterious alleles in FA pathway genes. We quantified the rate of germline single deleterious alleles in 22 FA genes using both a general population database (3234 variants, 125,748 exomes) and in a cohort of patients with SAA undergoing hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) (21 variants in 730 patients). The variants were classified as deleterious using in silico tools (REVEL, MetaSVM, VEP) and database resources (ClinVar, LOVD-FA). We found similar rates of single deleterious alleles in FA genes in both groups (2.6% and 2.9%). The presence of a single deleterious variant in a gene for FA in SAA HCT recipients did not affect the overall survival after HCT (hazard ratio, 0.85; 95% CI, 0.37 to 1.95; P  = 0.71), or post-HCT cancer risk (P = 0.52). Our results demonstrate that the identification of a germline monoallelic deleterious variant in an FA gene in patients with idiopathic SAA does not influence the outcome of HCT. Our findings suggest that there is no need for special treatment considerations for patients with SAA and a single deleterious FA allele identified on genetic testing.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbmt.2020.01.011DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7243455PMC
May 2020

Molecular Correlates of Socioeconomic Status and Clinical Outcomes Following Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation for Leukemia.

JNCI Cancer Spectr 2019 Dec 12;3(4):pkz073. Epub 2019 Sep 12.

See the Notes section for the full list of authors' affiliations.

Background: Clinical outcomes among allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) recipients are negatively affected by low socioeconomic status (SES), yet the biological mechanisms accounting for this health disparity remain to be elucidated. Among unrelated donor HCT recipients with acute myelogenous leukemia, one recent pilot study linked low SES to increased expression of a stress-related gene expression profile known as the conserved transcriptional response to adversity (CTRA) in peripheral blood mononuclear cells, which involves up-regulation of pro-inflammatory genes and down-regulation of genes involved in type I interferon response and antibody synthesis.

Methods: This study examined these relationships using additional measures in a larger archival sample of 261 adults who received an unrelated donor HCT for acute myelogenous leukemia to 1) identify cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in SES-related differences in pre-transplant leukocyte transcriptome profiles, and 2) evaluate pre-transplant CTRA biology associations with clinical outcomes through multivariable analysis controlling for demographic-, disease-, and transplant-related covariates.

Results: Low SES individuals showed increases in classic monocyte activation and pro-inflammatory transcription control pathways as well as decreases in activation of nonclassic monocytes, all consistent with the CTRA biological pattern. Transplant recipients in the highest or lowest quartiles of the CTRA pro-inflammatory gene component had a more than 2-fold elevated hazard of relapse (hazard ratio [HR] = 2.47, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.44 to 4.24),  = .001; HR = 2.52, 95% CI = 1.46 to 4.34,  = .001) and more than 20% reduction in leukemia-free survival (HR = 1.57, 95% CI = 1.08 to 2.28,  = .012; HR = 1.49, 95% CI = 1.04 to 2.15,  = .03) compared with the middle quartiles.

Conclusions: These findings identify SES- and CTRA-associated myeloid- and inflammation-related transcriptome signatures in recipient pre-transplant blood samples as a potential novel predictive biomarker of HCT-related clinical outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jncics/pkz073DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6859844PMC
December 2019
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