CD19(+)CD21(low) B cells and patients at risk for NIH-defined chronic graft-versus-host disease with bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome.

Blood

PubMedID: 23303823

Kuzmina Z, Krenn K, Petkov V, Körmöczi U, Weigl R, Rottal A, Kalhs P, Mitterbauer M, Ponhold L, Dekan G, Greinix HT, Pickl WF. CD19(+)CD21(low) B cells and patients at risk for NIH-defined chronic graft-versus-host disease with bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome. Blood. 2013;121(10):1886-95.
Bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS), pathognomonic for chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD) of the lung, is a progressive and often fatal complication after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). Biomarkers for the prediction and diagnosis of BOS are urgently needed to improve patients' prognosis. We prospectively evaluated B-cell subpopulations and B-cell activating factor (BAFF) in 136 patients (46 BOS, 41 no cGVHD, 49 cutaneous cGVHD) to define novel biomarkers for early diagnosis of National Institutes of Health-defined BOS diagnosed a median of 11 mo after HCT. Patients with newly diagnosed BOS had significantly higher percentages of CD19(+)CD21(low) B cells (25.5 versus 6.6%, P < .0001), BAFF (7.3 versus 3.5 ng/mL, P = .02), and BAFF/CD19(+) ratio (0.18 versus 0.02 ng/10(3) CD19(+) B cells, P 5 .007) compared with patients without cGVHD. The area under the receiver operating curve for CD19(+)CD21(low) B cells was 0.97 (95% confidence interval, 0.94-0.99) and a cutoff point >9% was optimal for diagnosing BOS in patients with first drop of pulmonary function tests with a sensitivity of 96% and a negative predictive value of 94%. Thus, elevated levels of CD19(+)CD21(low) B cells are a potential novel biomarker for HCT patients at risk for developing BOS at an early stage and could allow improvement of patient outcome.