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Keywords:

  • donor lymphocyte infusion;
  • graft-versus-leukae-mia effect;
  • graft-versus-host disease;
  • HA-1;
  • minor histo-compatibility antigen

Summary.  Donor lymphocyte infusions (DLI) can induce a graft-versus-leukaemia (GvL) reaction in patients with relapsed disease. However, the mechanisms involved in remission induction are not completely known. A patient with chemotherapy-refractory relapse 1 year after human leucocyte antigen (HLA)-identical, unrelated stem cell transplantation (SCT) for bcr/abl-positive common acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) received a DLI from the original donor, and achieved complete cytogenetic and molecular remission concomitantly with extensive graft-versus-host disease (GvHD). Seven CD8+, donor-derived, alloreactive T-cell clones were generated by stimulating post-DLI remission cells with the patient's pretransplant mature dendritic cells. The minor histocompatibility antigen (mHag) recognized by these T-cell clones was identified as HA-1, a mHag associated with acute GvHD after SCT. Our finding provides evidence of HA-1-associated GvL effects after DLI that paralleled the eradication of full-blown, chemotherapy-refractory ALL relapse after allogeneic SCT.