Impact of donor age considering HLA disparity on hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) outcomes has not been fully evaluated. We evaluated 8486 patients who received unrelated bone marrow transplantation (UR-BMT) from 8/8 or 7/8 HLA-matched donors. Compared to 8/8 HLA-matched younger donors (<40 years), 8/8 HLA-matched older donors (subdistribution hazard ratio [SHR], 1.16; 95% CI, 0.97–1.38) and 7/8 HLA-matched younger donors (SHR, 1.33; 95% CI, 1.11–1.58) were associated with increased risk of grade III–IV acute graft-versus-host disease (aGVHD). 7/8 HLA-matched older donors had further increased risk (SHR, 2.00; 95% CI, 1.68–2.38) due to interaction between donor age and HLA disparity (p for interaction = 0.038). Progression-free survival (PFS) after UR-BMT with 8/8 HLA-matched younger donors was comparable to that after UR-BMT with 8/8 HLA-matched older donors, whereas UR-BMT with 7/8 HLA-matched younger or older donors was significantly associated with lower PFS than UR-BMT with 8/8 HLA-matched younger donors (younger donor; HR, 1.12; 95% CI, 1.04–1.21, older donor; HR, 1.28; 95% CI, 1.17–1.40; p for interaction = 0.079). In conclusion, adverse effect of increased donor age requires attention, especially in HLA-mismatched UR-BMT due to interaction between donor age and HLA disparity. Intensive aGVHD prophylaxis may be required to improve outcomes after HCT with mismatched older donors.
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