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Improved Overall Survival, Relapse-Free-Survival, and Less Graft-vs.-Host-Disease in Patients With High Immune Reconstitution of TCR Gamma Delta Cells 2 Months After Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation

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T-cell receptor (TCR) γδ cells are perceived as innate-like effector cells with the possibility of mediating graft-vs. -tumor (GVT) without causing graft-vs.-host disease (GVHD) in the setting of hematopoietic allogeneic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). We conducted a prospective study to assess the clinical impact of TCR γδ cell immune reconstitution on overall survival, relapse-free-survival, relapse and GVHD. The impact of CD3, CD4, and CD8 T cells together with NK cells including subtypes were analyzed in parallel. A total of 108 patients with hematological malignancies transplanted with HLA-matched, T cell replete stem cell grafts were included for analyses of absolute concentrations of CD3, CD4, and CD8 positive T cells and NK cells together with a multi-color flow cytometry panel with staining for TCRαβ, TCRγδ, Vδ1, Vδ2, CD3, CD4, CD8, HLA-DR, CD196, CD45RO, CD45RA, CD16, CD56, CD337, and CD314 at 28, 56, 91, 180, and 365 days after transplantation. Immune reconstitution data including subsets and differentiation markers of T and NK cells during the first year after transplantation was provided. Patients with TCR γδ cell concentrations above the median value of 21 (0-416) × 106 cells/L 56 days after transplantation had significantly improved overall survival (p = 0.001) and relapse-free survival (p = 0.007) compared to patients with concentrations below this value. When day 56 cell subset concentrations were included as continuous variables, TCR γδ cells were the only T cell subsets with a significant impact on OS and RFS; the impact of TCR γδ cells remained statistically significant in multivariate analyses adjusted for pre-transplant risk factors. The risk of death from relapse was significantly decreased in patients with high concentrations of TCR γδ cells 56 days after transplantation (p = 0.003). Also, the risk of acute GVHD was significantly lower in patients with day 28 TCR γδ cell concentrations above the median of 18 × 106 cells/L compared to patients with low concentrations (p = 0.01). These results suggest a protective role of TCR γδ cells in relapse and GVHD and encourage further research in developing adaptive TCR γδ cell therapy for improving outcomes after HSCT.

Original languageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Volume10
Pages (from-to)1997
ISSN1664-3224
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

ID: 58007404