Allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) is a treatment for various hematologic diseases where efficacy of treatment is in part based on the graft versus tumour (GVT) activity of cells in the transplant. The cytoprotective enzyme heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) is a ratelimiting enzyme in heme degradation and it has been shown to exert anti-inflammatory functions. In humans a (GT)n repeat polymorphism regulates the expression of HO-1. We conducted fragment length analyses of the (GT)n repeat in the promotor region of the gene for HO-1 in DNA from donors and recipients receiving allogeneic myeloablative- (MA) (n = 110) or nonmyeloablative- (NMA-) (n = 250) HCT. Subsequently, we compared the length of the (GT)n repeat with clinical outcome after HCT. We demonstrated that transplants from a HO- 1high donor after MA-conditioning (n = 13) is associated with higher relapse incidence at 3 years (p = 0.01, n = 110). In the NMA-conditioning setting transplantation of HO-1low donor cells into HO-1low recipients correlated significantly with decreased relapse related mortality (RRM) and longer progression free survival (PFS) (p = 0.03 and p = 0.008, respectively). Overall, our findings suggest that HO-1 may play a role for the induction of GVT effect after allogeneic HCT.