Chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients with HLA-B27 referred for allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation do not have worse outcomes: Results of a population-based case series analysis in British Columbia, Canada

Human leukocyte antigen B27 (HLA-B27), associated with spondyloarthritis, was suggested to be protective against chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). It is hypothesized that HLA-B27 patients may have worse outcome in part related to their other comorbidities.


We sought to compare the clinical characteristics and outcomes of CLL and small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL) patients referred for allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT) based on their HLA-B27 status.


This retrospective population-based case series analyzed CLL/SLL patients who were HLA-typed for potential allo-HSCT in British Columbia, Canada.


of 279 CLL/SLL patients referred for potential allo-HSCT, 34 patients were HLA-B27 positive. For HLA-B27 patients, median age at CLL diagnosis was 53.5 years (range, 27-67) and 71% were male. Seven patients had 11q deletion and nine patients had 17p deletion detected prior to first CLL therapy or at relapse. Eleven HLA-B27 patients received allo-HSCT. Two patients developed acute myeloid leukemia. One patient with ankylosing spondylitis had Richter’s transformation prior to any CLL therapy. Spondyloarthritis-related disorders were diagnosed in 12 HLA-B27 patients but there was no temporal correlation with development of CLL. Overall survival (OS) and treatment-free survival (TFS) were not significantly different between HLA-B27 patients with or without spondyloarthritis-related disorders. There were no significant differences in clinical characteristics at CLL diagnosis or OS/TFS between HLA-B27 positive and negative patients referred for allo-HSCT.


HLA-B27 positivity does not appear to influence outcome for CLL/SLL patients referred for allo-HSCT. Further studies are needed to evaluate the clinical significance of HLA-B27 in a general CLL population.