The diversity of the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I and II alleles can be simplified by consolidating them into fewer supertypes based on functional or predicted structural similarities in epitopebinding grooves of HLA molecules. We studied the impact of matched and mismatched HLA-A (265 versus 429), -B (230 versus 92), -C (365 versus 349), and -DRB1 (153 versus 51) supertypes on clinical outcomes of 1934 patients with acute leukemias or myelodysplasia/myeloproliferative disorders. All patients were reported to the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research following single-allele mismatched unrelated donor myeloablative conditioning hematopoietic cell transplantation. Single mismatched alleles were categorized into six HLA-A (A01, A01A03, A01A24, A02, A03, A24), six HLA-B (B07, B08, B27, B44, B58, B62), two HLA-C (C1, C2), and five HLA-DRB1 (DR1, DR3, DR4, DR5, DR9) supertypes. Supertype B mismatch was associated with increased risk of grade II-IV acute graft-versus-host disease (hazard ratio =1.78, P=0.0025) compared to supertype B match. Supertype B07-B44 mismatch was associated with a higher incidence of both grade II-IV (hazard ratio=3.11, P=0.002) and III-IV (hazard ratio=3.15, P=0.01) acute graft-versus-host disease. No significant associations were detected between supertype-matched versus -mismatched groups at other HLA loci. These data suggest that avoiding HLA-B supertype mismatches can mitigate the risk of grade II-IV acute graft-versus-host disease in 7/8-mismatched unrelated donor hematopoietic cell transplantation when multiple HLA-B supertype-matched donors are available. Future studies are needed to define the mechanisms by which supertype mismatching affects outcomes after alternative donor hematopoietic cell transplantation.
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