Feasibility of Finding an Unrelated Bone Marrow Donor on International Registries for New Zealand Patients

Bone Marrow Transplant. 1999 Feb;23(3):291-4. doi: 10.1038/sj.bmt.1701561.


Allogeneic bone marrow transplantation is the treatment of choice for several hematological conditions. Unfortunately, for the majority (70%) of patients an HLA-matched sibling donor is not available and a matched unrelated donor must be found if they are to proceed to allogeneic transplantation. Most of the donors on international registries are of Caucasian ethnic origin. It has been recognized that patients from certain racial groups have a reduced chance of finding an unrelated donor. This study reports the feasibility of finding an unrelated donor for our local New Zealand patients of Caucasian, New Zealand Maori and Pacific Islander ethnic origin presenting with transplantable hematological conditions at a single center. The search was performed on international registries using HLA-A,B and DR typings for our patients. Six of six and five of six matches were evaluated. We have shown that Maori and Pacific Islanders have significantly lower hit rates than Caucasians when searched for 6/6 antigen matches, but there was no significant difference between the three ethnic groups in finding a 5/6 antigen matched donor. This study supports the policy of the New Zealand Bone Marrow Donor Registry in recruiting New Zealand Maori and Pacific Islanders.

MeSH terms

  • Bone Marrow Transplantation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Continental Population Groups / genetics
  • Databases, Factual
  • Ethnic Groups / genetics
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Gene Frequency
  • HLA Antigens / genetics*
  • Health Policy
  • Histocompatibility Testing
  • Histocompatibility*
  • Humans
  • International Cooperation
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Phylogeny
  • Probability
  • Registries / statistics & numerical data*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement / statistics & numerical data*
  • Transplantation, Homologous / statistics & numerical data*


  • HLA Antigens