WBC alloimmunization: effects on the laboratory and clinical endpoints of therapeutic granulocyte transfusions
BACKGROUND Although the subject of many previous studies, the importance of white blood cell (WBC) alloimmunization in granulocyte transfusion therapy has not been settled. In this study, we report the results of the effects of WBC antibodies in the RING (Resolving Infection in Neutropenia with Granulocytes) study, a randomized controlled trial comparing the efficacy of daily granulocyte transfusion therapy plus antimicrobials versus antimicrobials alone; the primary outcome results have been published previously. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS One hundred fourteen subjects were enrolled in the study. Serum samples for WBC antibody determination were obtained from each subject at baseline and at 2 and 6 weeks. One hundred subjects had at least one antibody test result. Samples were tested for human leukocyte antigen (HLA) Class I and Class II antibodies as well as for granulocyte-specific antibodies using granulocyte agglutination and immunofluorescence techniques. All testing was performed at a central laboratory. RESULTS Baseline WBC alloimmunization was modest, depending somewhat on the assay. Seroconversion during the study was slightly higher in the granulocyte transfusion arm, but the differences were not statistically significant. There was no demonstrable effect of the presence of alloimmunization on the primary outcome (survival and microbial response at 42 days), the occurrence of transfusion reactions (either overall or pulmonary), or posttransfusion neutrophil increments. CONCLUSION The presence or development of WBC antibodies had no demonstrable effect on any clinical aspect of granulocyte transfusion therapy. It appears that, at least in the patient population studied, there is no evidence suggesting need for concern about recipient WBC alloimmunization when prescribing granulocyte transfusions.