Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is a frequent cause of morbidity and mortality after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (allo-HCT). GVHD occurs when donor lymphocytes are activated by inflammatory cytokines and alloantigens. The role of donor biologic characteristics, such as basal inflammation, has not been investigated as a risk factor for GVHD but is theoretically transferrable to the recipient. We evaluated donor serum and plasma concentrations of cytokines and adipokines (IL-1β IL-6, tumor necrosis factor [TNF]-α leptin, suppression of tumorigenicity-2, and adiponectin) from test (n = 210) and replication (n = 250) cohorts of matched, unrelated transplant peripheral blood stem cell recipients identified through the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplantation Research between 2000 and 2011 for hematologic malignancies. Hazard ratios were estimated for acute (grades II to IV and III to IV) and chronic GVHD, overall survival, disease-free survival, transplant-related mortality, and relapse for each cytokine or adipokine, adjusting for significant covariates. The lowest cytokine quartile was considered as the reference group for each model. To account for multiple testing P <.01 was considered the threshold for significance. In the test cohort a borderline significant association was identified between donor serum IL-1β concentrations and grades III to IV acute GVHD in the recipient (P =.01), and a significant inverse association was identified between donor TNF-α concentrations and chronic GVHD (P =.006). These findings were not validated in the replication cohort. Although the initial associations between cytokine levels and allo-HCT outcomes were not validated, the idea that donor characteristics may be transferable to the recipient remains an exciting area for future research.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors thank Michael Ehrhardt of the UMN Cytokine Reference Laboratory for expert technical assistance. Financial disclosure: Supported in part by the Children's Cancer Research Fund, Minneapolis, Minnesota (to L.M.T.) and the National Marrow Donor Program (to L.M.T.). Conflict of interest statement: There are no conflicts of interest to report.
Financial disclosure: Supported in part by the Children's Cancer Research Fund, Minneapolis, Minnesota (to L.M.T.) and the National Marrow Donor Program (to L.M.T.).
- HCT donor