We previously reported the potent adverse effects of killer immunoglobulin-like receptor (KIR) ligand mismatch (KIR-L-MM) on the outcome of T cell-replete unrelated hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (UR-HSCT) through the Japan Marrow Donor Program. Other UR-HSCT studies have yielded inconsistent results. To address this discrepancy, we evaluated candidate factors contributing to the effects of KIR-L-MM on transplantation outcomes in retrospectively selected hematologic malignancy cases with uniform graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) prophylaxis (n = 1489). KIR-L-MM in the graft-versus-host direction (KIR-L-MM-G) was associated with a higher incidence of acute GVHD (aGVHD; P < .002) and a lower overall survival (OS; P < .0001) only without the preadministration of antithymocyte globulin (ATG). Furthermore, in KIR-L-MM-G, the donor KIR2DS2 gene with the patient cognate C1 ligand was associated with a higher incidence of aGVHD (P = .012). Multivariate analysis by Cox proportional hazard models suggested that donor 2DS2 and ATG preadministration were critical factors in grade III-IV aGVHD (hazard ratio = 1.96; 95% confidence interval = 1.01-3.80; P = .045, and hazard ratio = 0.56; 95% confidence interval = 0.31-0.99; P = .047, respectively). These results indicate that the adverse effects of KIR-L-MM-G depend on combination of donor-activating KIR genotype-patient cognate KIR ligand type and no ATG preadministration, thereby suggesting the importance of these factors in UR-HSCT and in leukemia treatment using natural killer (NK) cell alloreactivity.
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