Minor histocompatibility antigens (mHAgs) selectively expressed by cells or cell subsets of the hematopoietic system are targets of the T cell–mediated graft-versus-leukemia response that develops following allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) for the treatment of hematological malignancies. This observation has served as the rationale for utilizing mHAg-specific immunotherapy for the treatment of particular patients. However, at present, only a select and small number of patients could potentially benefit from mHAg-based immunotherapy. A report from de Rijke et al. in this issue of the JCI describes a new hematopoietic lineage–specific HLA-B7–restricted mHAg associated with remission of chronic myeloid leukemia. This result represents another example of an mHAg-mediated graft-versus-leukemia response, thereby expanding the number of patients eligible for mHAg-based immunotherapy in the setting of HSCT.
Eric Spierings, Els Goulmy