The association of ethnicity with the incidence of acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and other transplant outcomes after HLA identical sibling bone marrow transplantation is documented. However, there has been no international analysis of the association of ethnicity in hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) from unrelated donors and in cord blood transplantation (CBT)
Recently, the HCT component of the International Histocompatibility Working Group (IHWG) analyzed a pool of 5543 patient/donor pairs meeting the following 3 criteria (1) HLA-A, B, C, DRB1 and DQB1 allele matched donor; (2) diagnosis of leukemia (3) non-T cell depleted GVHD prophylaxis. Asian/Pacific pairs (mostly Japanese pairs n=2062) showed a significantly lower incidence of acute GVHD (39.2% grade 2-4 and 15.0% grade 3-4) than Caucasian pairs (n=2414) (55.2% grade 2-4 and 21.9% grade 3-4) (p<0.001). Multivariate analysis revealed that the hazards of acute GVHD in Caucasian pairs was significantly higher compared with that in Japanese pairs. The incidence of acute GVHD in pairs with common European HLA haplotypes was significantly higher than that in pairs with common Japanese HLA haplotypes. Although this IHWG study demonstrates that these different outcomes for acute GVHD between ethnic groups might be attributable to genetic background, the comparison of the incidence of acute GVHD between Asian/Pacific countries is essential to generalize this concept.
Here, we propose a cooperative APBMT study of allogeneic HCT (HLA Working Group) for the impact of ethnicity on acute GVHD and other immunological events in Asian/Pacific countries based on the APBMT database including HLA genotyping in conjunction with the HCT component of IHWG.

Projects are

  1. HLA genotype and HLA haplotype status in HSCT by ethnicity.
  2. HLA matching and transplant-related immunological events in transplantation from related and unrelated stem cell donor by ethnicity.
  3. HLA matching and transplant-related immunological events in unrelated CBT by ethnicity.


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Minute of the HLA Working Group - Oct 2011



Chairman: Yasuo Morishima (Japan)


WG Members

Name Country Institute
Jun He PR China Chief Physician and Director of HLA typing laboratory of China Marrow Donor Program Jiangsu Institute of Hematology, First Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University
Janette Kwok Hon Kong Head of the HLA Laboratory of the Queen Mary Hospital
Tso-Fu Wang Taiwan Tzu-Chi General hospital and Marrow registry of Taiwan
Tai-Gyu Kim Korea Prof. Dept of Microbiology, Director of Catholic Hemopoietic Stem Cell Bank, The Catholic University of Korea
Hee-Je Kim Korea Prof of Medicine, Division of Hematology, Catholic Blood and Marrow Transplantation Center The Catholic University of Korea
Yoshiko Atsuta Japan Department of HSCT Data Management / Biostatistics Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine