We hypothesized that chronic tissue stress due to interaction of alloreactive donor cells with host epithelium after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (allo-HCT) may cause genomic alterations. We therefore analyzed 176 buccal samples obtained from 71 unselected allotransplanted patients for microsatellite instability (MSI). MSI was observed in 52% of allotransplanted patients but never in 31 healthy or autotransplanted controls. The patient age, the donor age, a female-to-male transplantation and a low number of CD34 cells in the graft were significantly correlated with genomic instability. There was a trend for increasing risk of MSI for patients who experienced severe graft-vs-host disease. Secondary malignancy was diagnosed in five (14%) of the MSI and only in one (3%) MSI patient. In an in vitro model of mutation analysis we found significant induction of frameshift mutations and DNA strand breaks in HaCaT keratinocytes co-cultured with mixed lymphocyte cultures (MLCs) but not after their exposure to interferon-γ, tumor necrosis factor-α, transforming growth factor-Β (TGF-Β), MLC supernatant, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) or phytohemagglutinin-stimulated PBMC. A reactive oxygen species-mediated mechanism is implicated. The in vivo and in vitro data of our study show that alloreactions after allo-HCT may induce genomic alterations in epithelium. Progress in understanding DNA damage and repair after allo-HCT can potentially provide molecular biomarkers and therapeutic targets.
- Allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation
- Graft-vs-host disease
- Microsatellite instability