CH, including donor-engrafted CH, is highly prevalent among donors and recipients long-term after allo-HSCT.
CH clones variably expand at different levels of the hematopoietic hierarchy and can clonally evolve into subclones.
Clonal hematopoiesis (CH) is associated with age and an increased risk of myeloid malignancies, cardiovascular risk, and all-cause mortality. We tested for CH in a setting where hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) of the same individual are exposed to different degrees of proliferative stress and environments, ie, in long-term survivors of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT) and their respective related donors (n = 42 donor-recipient pairs). With a median follow-up time since allo-HSCT of 16 years (range, 10-32 years), we found a total of 35 mutations in 23 out of 84 (27.4%) study participants. Ten out of 42 donors (23.8%) and 13 out of 42 recipients (31%) had CH. CH was associated with older donor and recipient age. We identified 5 cases of donor-engrafted CH, with 1 case progressing into myelodysplastic syndrome in both donor and recipient. Four out of 5 cases showed increased clone size in recipients compared with donors. We further characterized the hematopoietic system in individuals with CH as follows: (1) CH was consistently present in myeloid cells but varied in penetrance in B and T cells; (2) colony-forming units (CFUs) revealed clonal evolution or multiple independent clones in individuals with multiple CH mutations; and (3) telomere shortening determined in granulocytes suggested ∼20 years of added proliferative history of HSCs in recipients compared with their donors, with telomere length in CH vs non-CH CFUs showing varying patterns. This study provides insight into the long-term behavior of the same human HSCs and respective CH development under different proliferative conditions.