ABSTRACT: In a previous study, we obtained preliminary evidence in a small series of patients (n = 63) suggesting that susceptibility to childhood common acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (c-ALL) was associated with an allele at the HLA-DPB1 locus, DPB1*0201. We have now tested this hypothesis by comparing the frequency of children with leukaemia (n = 982) who typed for specific DPB1 alleles and two groups of non-leukaemic children, one consisting of children with solid tumours, excluding lymphomas (n = 409), the other consisting of normal infants (n = 864). We found that significantly more children with c-ALL and T-ALL, but not pro-B ALL or acute non-ALL typed for DPB1*0201 as compared with children with solid tumours [odds ratio (OR), 95% confidence interval (CI) for c-ALL: 1.76, 1.20-2.56; T-ALL: 1.93, 1.01-3.80] and normal infants (OR, 95% CI for c-ALL: 1.83, 1.34-2.48; T-ALL: 2.00, 1.10-3.82). In childhood c-ALL, significantly more children than those with solid tumours or normal infants typed for DPB1 alleles coding specific polymorphic amino acids lining the antigen-binding site of the DPbeta1*0201 allotypic protein, suggesting that susceptibility to childhood c-ALL may be influenced by DPbeta ABS amino acid polymorphisms shared by DPbeta1*0201 and other DPbeta1 allotypes. These results point to a mechanism of c-ALL susceptibility that involves the presentation of specific antigenic peptides, possibly derived from infectious agents, by DPbeta1*0201-related allotypic proteins, leading to the activation of helper T cells mediating proliferative stress on preleukaemic cells.
Human Molecular Genetics 08/2002; 11(14):1585-97. · 7.64 Impact Factor