Many parameters predict for outcome after unrelated donor (URD) allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (alloSCT). High-resolution HLA-matching significantly impacts outcome and also the European Group of Blood and Marrow Transplantation (EBMT) risk score, based on patient age, disease stage, donor type, time from diagnosis to SCT and gender combination, may predict for non-relapse mortality and overall survival (OS). We evaluated the individual and combined effects of allele-matching and the EBMT risk score in 327 patients with poor-risk acute leukemia or myelodysplasia, who received a T-cell depleted URD alloSCT. Matching for HLA-A, -B, -C and -DRB1 alleles (8/8 match) was associated with a 5-year OS of 40% compared with 30% for mismatched (≤7/8) pairs (P=0.02). Patients with EBMT risk scores of 1-2, 3, 4 and 5-7 had 5-year OS estimates of 53, 43, 30 and 20%, respectively (P<0.001). The favorable prognostic impact of an 8/8 donor was most pronounced if the EBMT risk score was low (1-2). Five-year OS was 74±8% vs 39±11% for fully matched patients with a low-risk EBMT score as compared with EBMT low-risk patients with ≤7/8 donors. These data underscore the importance of incorporating both the EBMT risk score and the degree of high-resolution HLA-matching in the risk assessment prior to URD alloSCT.Leukemia advance online publication, 24 May 2011; doi:10.1038/leu.2011.123.