Minor histocompatibility antigens (mHags) HA-1 and HA-2 are encoded by biallelic loci, with immunogenic variants, HA-1H and HA-2V, which induce strong HLA-A2-restricted alloreactive T-cell responses, and nonimmunogenic counterparts, HA-1R and HA-2M, which represent functional null alleles that are poorly presented by HLA class I molecules. HA-1 and HA-2 are potential targets of selective graft-versus-leukemia and graft-versus-tumor reactivity after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT); however, these applications are restricted to a limited number of patients. Here, we show that a far more frequent application of HA-1 and HA-2 disparity relies on their use as markers for the state of host chimerism after allogeneic HSCT. We have determined allelic frequencies of 29.3% and 70.7% for HA-1H and HA-1R, respectively, and of 83.7% and 16.3% for HA-2V and HA-2M, respectively, in >200 healthy individuals from northern Italy. Similar frequencies were observed in nearly 100 patients affected by hematologic malignancies or solid tumors, thus showing that HA-1 and HA-2 variability are not associated with the presence of cancer. On the basis of these data, we predict that HA-1 and HA-2 can be used in 32.8% and 23.5% of Italian transplant patients, respectively, as markers for the state of host chimerism, whereas exploitation of disparity for these mHags for targeted immunotherapy will be possible in 10.7% and 1.1% of Italian patients, respectively. Retrospective HA-2 typing of bone marrow aspirates obtained from a patient during complete remission or recurrence of acute myeloid leukemia after haploidentical HSCT showed the feasibility of using HA-2 as a surrogate marker for disease monitoring. Because of an apparent north-south gradient for HA-1 allelic frequencies, with higher frequencies for the HA-1H variant reported in white populations from Southern Europe as compared with Northern Europe and North America, the diagnostic applicability of HA-1 disparity will be slightly more frequent in transplant patients from the north. Taken together, our data show that determination of HA-1 and HA-2 variability can be an important parameter for the selection of allogeneic stem cell donors, in particular for patients affected by hematologic malignancies without a tumor-specific molecular marker.
- Graft-versus-leukemia activity
- Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
- Host chimerism
- Minimal residual disease
- Minor histocompatibility antigens HA-1 and HA-2
- Population study
ASJC Scopus subject areas