The frequency of three serologically defined HLA-D region antigens--DR, MB, and MT--was determined in a group of 74 children with non-T, non-B acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL). Statistically, there were no significant differences in the frequency of any antigen in these ALL patients as compared with a panel of 85 normal controls. However, significant differences in HLA-DR frequencies were observed between patients who relapsed or who remained disease-free during a 30-mo period of chemotherapy. An increased incidence of relapse was associated with DR5, while disease-free remission during chemotherapy was associated with DR7. Life table analysis also demonstrated that DR5 was significantly associated with a decrease in disease-free survival in these patients. These data suggest that HLA-associated genetic factors may influence the responses of ALL patients to chemotherapy.

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