Mononuclear-cell immunisation in prevention of recurrent miscarriages: a randomised trial

Lancet. 1999 Jul 31;354(9176):365-9. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(98)12055-X.


Background: Couples with unexplained recurrent miscarriage may have an alloimmune abnormality that prevents the mother from developing immune responses essential for the survival of the genetically foreign conceptus. Immunisation with paternal mononuclear cells is used as a treatment for such alloimmune-mediated pregnancy losses. However, the published results on this treatment are conflicting. In this study (the Recurrent Miscarriage [REMIS] Study), we investigated whether paternal mononuclear cell immunisation improves the rate of successful pregnancies.

Methods: Women who had had three or more spontaneous abortions of unknown cause were enrolled in a double-blind, multicentre, randomised clinical trial. 91 were assigned immunisation with paternal mononuclear cells (treatment) and 92 immunisation with sterile saline (control). The primary outcomes were the inability to achieve pregnancy within 12 months of randomisation, or a pregnancy which terminated before 28 weeks of gestation (failure); and pregnancy of 28 or more weeks of gestation (success). Two analyses were done: one included all women (intention to treat), and the other included only those who became pregnant.

Findings: Two women in each group received no treatment, and eight (three treatment, five control) were censored after an interim analysis. In the analysis of all randomised women who completed the trial, the success rate was 31/86 (36%) in the treatment group and 41/85 (48%) in the control group (odds ratio 0.60 [95% CI 0.33-1.12], p=0.108). In the analysis of pregnant women only, the corresponding success rates were 31/68 (46%) and 41/63 (65%; odds ratio 0.45 [0.22-0.91], p=0.026). The results were unchanged after adjustment for maternal age, number of previous miscarriages, and whether or not the couple had had a previous viable pregnancy. Similar results were obtained in a subgroup analysis of 133 couples with no previous livebirth.

Interpretation: Immunisation with paternal mononuclear cells does not improve pregnancy outcome in women with unexplained recurrent miscarriage. This therapy should not be offered as a treatment for pregnancy loss.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Habitual / immunology
  • Abortion, Habitual / therapy*
  • Adult
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy, Adoptive / methods*
  • Lymphocyte Transfusion
  • Male
  • Monocytes / immunology
  • Monocytes / transplantation*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Treatment Outcome