Human graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) biology beyond 3 months after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is complex. The Applied Biomarker in Late Effects of Childhood Cancer study (ABLE/PBMTC1202, NCT02067832) evaluated the immune profiles in chronic GVHD (cGVHD) and late acute GVHD (L-aGVHD). Peripheral blood immune cell and plasma markers were analyzed at day 100 post-HSCT and correlated with GVHD diagnosed according to the National Institutes of Health consensus criteria (NIH-CC) for cGVHD. Of 302 children enrolled, 241 were evaluable as L-aGVHD, cGVHD, active L-aGVHD or cGVHD, and no cGVHD/L-aGVHD. Significant marker differences, adjusted for major clinical factors, were defined as meeting all 3 criteria: receiver-operating characteristic area under the curve ≥0.60, P ≤ .05, and effect ratio ≥1.3 or ≤0.75. Patients with only distinctive features but determined as cGVHD by the adjudication committee (non-NIH-CC) had immune profiles similar to NIH-CC. Both cGVHD and L-aGVHD had decreased transitional B cells and increased cytolytic natural killer (NK) cells. cGVHD had additional abnormalities, with increased activated T cells, naive helper T (Th) and cytotoxic T cells, loss of CD56bright regulatory NK cells, and increased ST2 and soluble CD13. Active L-aGVHD before day 114 had additional abnormalities in naive Th, naive regulatory T (Treg) cell populations, and cytokines, and active cGVHD had an increase in PD-1- and a decrease in PD-1+ memory Treg cells. Unsupervised analysis appeared to show a progression of immune abnormalities from no cGVHD/L-aGVHD to L-aGVHD, with the most complex pattern in cGVHD. Comprehensive immune profiling will allow us to better understand how to minimize L-aGVHD and cGVHD. Further confirmation in adult and pediatric cohorts is needed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology