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Chances of finding an HLA-matched sibling: The Saudi experience


Jawdat DM1, Al Saleh S, Sutton P, Al Anazi H, Shubaili A, Tamim H, Hajeer AH.


Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplant

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1King Abdulla International Medical Research Centre, King Abdulaziz Medical City, National Guard Health Affairs, Riyadh 11426, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


doi: 10.1016/j.bbmt.2009.06.013.



Hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) remains the fundamental procedure to treat many diseases. Its success depends greatly on the degree of HLA matching between donor and recipient. Although the number of successful HCT procedures carried out worldwide increases every year, many patients remain unable to receive this treatment because of the difficulty of finding an HLA-matching donor.


In our center, we identified the HLA types for all HCT candidates and their siblings in an attempt to determine the chance of finding a full HLA-matching sibling.


Overall, 60% of patients had a chance of finding an HLA-matching sibling. The chance of finding a matching sibling was 43% in patients aged birth to 5 years, compared with 68% in those aged 20+ years. In our Saudi population, patients in need of HCT have a greater chance of finding an HLA-matching sibling than is reported in most Western countries. This is mainly because of the larger number of siblings in most Saudi families. Younger children requiring HCT have a lesser chance of finding an HLA-matching sibling. 


Our data demonstrate that even in a country with relatively large families, it is still essential to consider alternative donor strategies, such as adult unrelated donors, unrelated umbilical cord blood units, and haploidentical donors.