HLA-DRB1*07:01 is associated with a higher risk of asparaginase allergies

Christian A. Fernandez, Colton Smith, Wenjian Yang, Mihir Daté, Donald Bashford, Eric Larsen, W. Paul Bowman, Chengcheng Liu, Laura B. Ramsey, Tamara Chang, Victoria Turner, Mignon L. Loh, Elizabeth A. Raetz, Naomi J. Winick, Stephen P. Hunger, William L. Carroll, Suna Onengut-Gumuscu, Wei Min Chen, Patrick Concannon, Stephen S. RichPaul Scheet, Sima Jeha, Ching Hon Pui, William E. Evans, Meenakshi Devidas, Mary V. Relling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


Asparaginase is a therapeutic enzyme used to treat leukemia and lymphoma, with immuneresponses resulting insuboptimal drug exposureanda greater risk of relapse. To elucidate whether there is a genetic component to the mechanism of asparaginaseinduced immune responses, we imputed human leukocyte antigen (HLA) alleles in patients of European ancestry enrolled on leukemia trials at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (n 5 541) and the Children's Oncology Group (n 5 1329). We identified a higher incidence of hypersensitivity and anti-asparaginase antibodies in patients with HLA-DRB1*07:01 alleles (P 5 7.5 3 10-5, odds ratio [OR] = 1.64; P = 1.4 x 10-5, OR = 2.92, respectively). Structural analysis revealed that high-risk amino acids were located within the binding pocket of the HLA protein, possibly affecting the interaction between asparaginase epitopes and the HLA-DRB1 protein. Using a sequence-based consensus approach, we predicted the binding affinity of HLA-DRB1 alleles for asparaginase epitopes, and patients whose HLA genetics predicted high-affinity binding had more allergy (P = 3.3 3 10-4, OR 5 1.38). Our results suggest a mechanism of allergy whereby HLA-DRB1 alleles that confer high-affinity binding to asparaginase epitopes lead to a higher frequency of reactions. These trials were registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as NCT00137111, NCT00549848, NCT00005603, and NCT00075725.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1266-1276
Number of pages11
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 21 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology


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