The reported influence of donor Killer-cell Immunoglobulin-like Receptor (KIR) genes on the outcomes of haematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) are contradictory, in part due to diversity of disease, donor sources, era and conditioning regimens within and between different studies. Here, we describe the results of a retrospective clinical analysis establishing the effect of donor KIR motifs on the outcomes of 119 HLA-matched, unrelated donor HCT for adult acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) using myeloablative conditioning (MAC) in a predominantly T-cell deplete (TCD) cohort. We observed that HCT involving donors with at least one KIR B haplotype were more likely to result in non-relapse mortality (NRM) than HCT involving donors with two KIR A haplotypes (p = 0.019). Upon separation of KIR haplotypes into their centromeric (Cen) and telomeric (Tel) motif structures, we demonstrated that the Cen-B motif was largely responsible for this effect (p = 0.001). When the cause of NRM was investigated further, infection was the dominant cause of death (p = 0.006). No evidence correlating donor KIR B haplotype with relapse risk was observed. The results from this analysis confirm previous findings in the unrelated, TCD, MAC transplant setting and imply a protective role for donor-encoded Cen-A motifs against infection in allogeneic HCT recipients.
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