LabCorp and its Specialty Testing Group, a fully integrated portfolio of specialty and esoteric testing laboratories.

Bone Marrow / Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA)

LabCorp is a leading provider of histocompatibility (human leukocyte antigen, or HLA) testing for bone marrow, other transplant-related services, and disease association testing.

LabCorp performs testing for either HLA class I or class II using highly robust molecular methods. LabCorp’s HLA testing is accredited by several agencies, including the American Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics (ASHI) and the College of American Pathologists (CAP).

LabCorp is a contract lab for the National Marrow Donor Program. For more information about the National Marrow Donor Program and becoming a bone marrow donor, go to

  • Transplant Screening

    Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) testing is performed when trying to find a suitable organ, tissue (bone marrow), or cord blood donor for transplantation.

    The results of either HLA class I or class II typing can be used for bone marrow transplant donor screening. This screening is coordinated with various agencies that conduct drives to assist people in need of a bone marrow transplant. LabCorp also performs post-transplant engraftment monitoring, which involves testing samples for donor and recipient markers.

    You may request a collection kit or contact bone marrow customer service at 800-533-1037, Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Eastern time.

    Additional LabCorp Specialty Testing
    ViroMed Laboratories, a LabCorp specialty lab, has a national reputation for expertise in providing comprehensive laboratory services to meet the unique testing needs of the bone marrow industry.

    ViroMed’s CAP-accredited, CLIA-certified laboratory is FDA-registered for screening human cells, tissues, and cellular- and tissue-based products (HCT/Ps). ViroMed performs donor testing 7 days a week on multiple shifts, and provides customer support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    ViroMed incorporates quality assurance measures to monitor laboratory quality and customer satisfaction. 

  • Transplant Testing

    LabCorp's transplant testing service offers:

    • Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)* methodology used for class I and class II alleles
    • Double-blind testing performed routinely for class I and class II alleles
    • Results reported in 7 to 10 days from receipt of specimen
    • STAT testing (results within 24 to 48 hours) available upon request
    • Specimens accepted 7 days a week
    • Diverse specimen types, including buccal swabs, accepted

    LabCorp offers multiple DNA-based methodologies for HLA typing:

    • Testing of DNA sequences permits HLA typing at high resolution (intermediate resolution is also available at a lower price).
    • DNA typing does not require live blood cells from the patient, permitting more flexible sample requirements. Therefore, LabCorp can perform DNA-based HLA typing on buccal swabs, liquid blood, frozen blood, dried blood stains, bone marrow, cultured cells, sorted cells, or any tissue containing intact DNA.

    LabCorp utilizes a combination of powerful technologies to analyze DNA sequences at HLA class I and class II loci:

    • The informative regions of the DNA are replicated using polymerase chain reaction (PCR). PCR amplification provides a large amount of DNA that is analyzed with a battery of DNA probes. LabCorp uses more than 100 probes to analyze the DNA coding for the HLA-A and HLA-B loci.
    • A variety of additional procedures are available to obtain the resolution required by each client. These include sequence-specific primers (SSP), sequence-based typing (SBT), sequence-specific oligonucleotide probes (SSOP, Luminex, and sample array), and group-specific primers.

    LabCorp's software requires double-blind data entry by two independent technologists with a final review by a third technologist. When any new, undescribed antigens are present, the program can help determine which known antigens are most similar to the type seen in the sample.

    Loci are available at various levels of resolution, including:

    • Class I: HLA-A, -B, and -C
    • Class II: DRB, DQB, DQA, and DPB

    High-resolution typing implements additional PCR reactions along with a larger panel of DNA probes to define the antigens present at the allele level. These methods are similar to those employed for class I HLA typing in which PCR is used to amplify the DNA of interest (DRB, DQB, DQA, or DPB gene sequences), and probes determine which sequences are present in the amplified DNA. SSP, SBT, and Luminex methodologies are available.

    *Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is performed pursuant to an agreement with Roche Molecular Systems, Inc.

  • Transplant Engraftment Monitoring

    Benefits of LabCorp's transplant engraftment monitoring services include:

    • PCR / short tandem repeat (STR) methodology
    • Turnaround time is generally 5 to 7 days after receipt of specimen
    • Quantitative results reported

    This test monitors the success of a bone marrow/stem cell transplant. The relative percentage of recipient and donor cells in post-transplant specimens is assessed.

    Bone marrow engraftment monitoring is based on detection and comparison of STR DNA regions in the recipient and donor after transplantation.

    Currently, LabCorp has 14 STR systems available for detecting genetic differences between recipient and donor. This test battery is useful in virtually all donor/recipient pairs except identical twins. The methodology is based on the PCR. The LabCorp procedures generally provide 3- to 7-day turnaround time and a higher sensitivity than other DNA tests historically used for engraftment monitoring.

    Our PhD-level scientists are available to answer technical questions. For additional information, please call bone marrow customer service at 800-533-1037.

  • Disease Association Testing

    Healthcare providers often order HLA testing to aid in the diagnosis of a disease.

    A disease association arises when an HLA type is more commonly seen in patients with a specific disease than in healthy patients. For example, the HLA allele B27 has a disease association with ankylosing spondylitis and certain forms of arthritis. Other disease associations commonly tested at LabCorp are the HLA disease associations for narcolepsy and celiac disease.

    Since HLA is a key component of the immune system, it is becoming recognized that HLA types can affect drug sensitivity, vaccine effectiveness, and resistance to certain viruses. HLA typing is becoming an important aspect of personalized medicine.

    LabCorp offers a number of specialized profiles to help with disease association:

    • Celiac Disease Profile-HLA Linkage Disequilibrium: DQA/DQB (DQ2 and DQ8)
    • B27 Profile: Testing reports for positive or negative
    • HLA-B*5701 - Abacavir hypersensitivity: Testing reports for positive or negative (View the HLA-B*5701 Technical Review)
    • HLA-B*1502 - Carbamazepine hypersensitivity: Testing reports for positive or negative
    • Narcolepsy Profile (DRB1*15 and DQB1*0602): Testing reports for positive or negative
    • HLA A, B, and C Disease Association: Testing reports for antigens present at A, B, and C loci
    • DR Disease Association: Testing reports for antigens present at DRB1, DRB3, DRB4 and DRB5; also available: DQB1, DQA1, and DPB1

    Additional LabCorp Specialty Testing
    LabCorp, though its specialty laboratory ViroMed Laboratories, offers a comprehensive infectious disease test portfolio for the detection and confirmation of relevant communicable diseases. ViroMed has more than 15 years of experience in regulated testing with a knowledgeable staff and a dedicated quality assurance program.


More than 20 years of HLA testing experience

More than 2 million individuals typed for HLA class I and HLA class II antigens

Board-certified PhD scientists assist with the interpretation of results and recommend follow-up testing, as needed

Highly qualified laboratory technicians dedicated to all aspects of HLA testing

Quality and Reliability

Advanced polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technologies permit superior resolution of class I and class II alleles

Extensive quality control protocols that exceed industry standards

Transplant-level testing performed using double-blind procedures

American Society of Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics (ASHI) accreditation

Customer Services

  • Assistance available Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Eastern time
  • Collection kits provided for client convenience at LabCorp’s nationwide network of specimen collection labs
  • Result delivery/reporting tailored to meet clients’ individual needs
  • Assistance with specimen collection from potential donors
  • Customized services available upon request:
    • Processing of nonstandard samples (cultured cells, sorted cells, tissue samples, etc.)
    • Assays targeting specific antigens or alleles according to customer requirements
    • Reflex testing based on initial screening results

Get Started with LabCorp

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