Acute graft-versus-host disease (aGVHD) represents one of the major complications in allogeneic stem cell transplantation and is primarily caused by genetic disparity between the donor and recipient. In HLA-matched transplants, the disparity is thought to be determined by loci encoding minor histocompatibility antigens (minorHantigens), which are presented by specific HLA molecules. We performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) to identify minor H antigen loci associated with aGVHD. A total of 500 568 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were genotyped for donors and recipients from 1589 unrelated bone marrow transplants matched for HLA-A,-B,-C,-DRB1, and-DQB1, followed by the imputation of unobserved SNPs. We interrogated SNPs whose disparity between the donor and recipient was significantly associated with aGVHD development. Without assuming HLA unrestriction, we successfully captured a known association between HLA-DPB1 disparity (P = 4.50 × 10-9) and grade II-IV aGVHD development, providing proof of concept for the GWAS design aimed at discovering genetic disparity associated with aGVHD. In HLA-restricted analyses, whereby association tests were confined to major subgroups sharing common HLA alleles to identify putative minor H antigen loci, we identified 3 novel loci significantly associated with grade III-IV aGVHD. Among these, rs17473423 (P = 1.20 × 10-11) at 12p12.1 within the KRAS locus showed the most significant association in the subgroup, sharing HLA-DQB1∗06:01. Our result suggested that a GWAS can be successfully applied to identify allele mismatch associated with aGVHD development, contributing to the understanding of the genetic basis of aGVHD.
!!!All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes