Natural killer cells are regulated by killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptor (KIR) interactions with HLA class I ligands. Several models of natural killer cell reactivity have been associated with improved outcomes after myeloablative allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT), but this issue has not been rigorously addressed in reduced-intensity conditioning (RIC) unrelated donor (URD) HCT. We studied 909 patients undergoing RIC-URD HCT. Patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML, n = 612) lacking ≥ 1 KIR ligands experienced higher grade III to IV acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) (HR, 1.6; 95% CI, 1.16 to 2.28; P = .005) compared to those with all ligands present. Absence of HLA-C2 for donor KIR2DL1 was associated with higher grade II to IV (HR, 1.4; P =002) and III to IV acute GVHD (HR, 1.5; P = .01) compared with HLA-C2+ patients. AML patients with KIR2DS1+, HLA-C2 homozygous donors had greater treatment-related mortality compared with others (HR, 2.4; 95% CI, 1.4 to 4.2; P = 002) but did not experience lower relapse. There were no significant associations with outcomes for AML when assessing donor-activating KIRs or centromeric KIR content or for any donor-recipient KIR-HLA assessments in patients with myelodysplastic syndrome (n = 297). KIR-HLA combinations in RIC-URD HCT recapitulate some but not all KIR-HLA effects observed in myeloablative HCT.
Sobecks, R. M., Wang, T., Askar, M., Gallagher, M. M., Haagenson, M., Spellman, S., … Hsu, K. (2015). Impact of KIR and HLA Genotypes on Outcomes after Reduced-Intensity Conditioning Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation. Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation, 21(9), 1589–1596. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbmt.2015.05.002