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Monoclonal antibody
TypeWhole antibody
Clinical data
Trade namesDarzalex
AHFS/Drugs.comMultum Consumer Information
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ATC code
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Chemical and physical data
Molar mass145391.67 g·mol−1
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Daratumumab (trade name Darzalex) is an anti-cancer drug. It binds to CD38,[1] which multiple myeloma cells overexpress.[2] Daratumumab was originally developed by Genmab, but it is now being jointly developed by Genmab along with the Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Biotech, which acquired worldwide commercialization rights to the drug from Genmab.[3]

Daratumumab was given breakthrough therapy drug status in 2013 for multiple myeloma. It was awarded orphan drug status for multiple myeloma, diffuse large B cell lymphoma, follicular lymphoma, and mantle cell lymphoma.[4]

Medical uses[edit]

In November 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved daratumumab for treatment of multiple myeloma in patients who had received at least three prior therapies.[5][6] In May 2016 daratumumab was also conditionally approved by the European Medicines Agency for treatment of multiple myeloma.[7]

In November 2016, the FDA approved daratumumab in combination with lenalidomide or bortezomib and dexamethasone for the treatment of patients with multiple myeloma who have received at least one prior therapy.[8]

In May 2018, the FDA expanded the approval of daratumumab for use in combination with bortezomib, melphalan and prednisone to include the treatment of patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma who are ineligible for autologous stem cell transplant.[9]

The European Commission granted a marketing authorisation on 20 May 2016.[10]

In the European Union it is indicated as monotherapy for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma, whose prior therapy included a proteasome inhibitor and an immunomodulatory agent and who have demonstrated disease progression on the last therapy.[11]


Interference with blood compatibility testing[edit]

Daratumumab can also bind to CD38 present on red blood cells and interfere with routine testing for clinically significant antibodies. Patients will show a panreactive antibody panel, including a positive auto-control, which tends to mask the presence of any clinically significant antibodies. Treatment of the antibody panel cells with dithiothreitol (DTT) and repeating testing will effectively negate the binding of daratumumab to CD38 on the red blood cell surface; however, DTT also inactivates/destroys many antigens on the red blood cell surface by disrupting disulfide bonds. The only antigen system affected that is associated with common, clinically significant antibodies is Kell, making crossmatch testing with K-negative RBCs a reasonable alternative when urgent transfusion is indicated. [12] It is therefore advisable to do a baseline antibody screen and Rh & Kell phenotyping (type and screen) before starting the therapy. If antibody screen is negative, proceed with phenotype matched transfusions during therapy. If antibody screen is positive, give specific antigen negative blood. The incompatibility may persist for up to 6 months after stopping the medicine. Furthermore, blood transfusion centers should be routinely notified when sending such a sample.

Interaction with flow cytometry testing

Daratumumab can also interfere with flow cytometric evaluation of multiple myeloma, causing an apparent lack of plasma cells.[13]


Mechanism of action[edit]

Daratumumab is an IgG1k monoclonal antibody directed against CD38. CD38 is overexpressed in multiple myeloma cells. Daratumumab binds to CD38, causing cells to apoptose via antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity or complement-dependent cytotoxicity.[14]


Encouraging preliminary results were reported in June 2012 from a Phase 1/2 clinical trial in relapsed multiple myeloma patients.[15] Updated trial results presented in December 2012 indicate daratumumab is continuing to show promising single-agent anti-myeloma activity.[16] A 2015 study compared monotherapy 8 and 16 mg/kg at monthly to weekly intervals.[2]

Daratumumab was given priority review status by the FDA for multiple myeloma as a combination therapy (second line).[14]


  1. ^ World Health Organization (2009). "International Nonproprietary Names for Pharmaceutical Substances (INN). Proposed INN: List 101" (PDF). WHO Drug Information. 23 (2).
  2. ^ a b Lokhorst, HM; Plesner, T; Laubach, JP; et al. (2015-09-24). "Targeting CD38 with Daratumumab Monotherapy in Multiple Myeloma". The New England Journal of Medicine. 373 (13): 1207–1219. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1506348. ISSN 1533-4406. PMID 26308596.
  3. ^ "'Janssen Biotech Announces Global License and Development Agreement for Investigational Anti-Cancer Agent Daratumumab'". Janssen Biotech. Retrieved 2013-01-31.
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ "Daratumumab Approved for Multiple Myeloma in US". Medscape.
  6. ^ "Darzalex New FDA Drug Approval - CenterWatch". www.centerwatch.com.
  7. ^ "Janssen's Single-Agent DARZALEX® (daratumumab) Approved by European Commission for Treatment of Multiple Myeloma (MM) | Business Wire". www.businesswire.com. Retrieved 2016-05-23.
  8. ^ Research, Center for Drug Evaluation and (9 February 2019). "Daratumumab (DARZALEX)". FDA – via www.fda.gov.
  9. ^ "FDA approves Darzalex for newly diagnosed, transplant-ineligible multiple myeloma". www.healio.com. Retrieved 2018-05-08.
  10. ^ "An overview of Darzalex and why it is authorised in the EU" (PDF). www.ema.europa.eu. 2018. Retrieved 2019-06-04.
  11. ^ "SUMMARY OF PRODUCT CHARACTERISTICS" (PDF). www.ema.europa.eu. Retrieved 2019-06-04.
  12. ^ Chapuy, CI; Nicholson, RT; Aguad, MD; et al. (June 2015). "Resolving the daratumumab interference with blood compatibility testing". Transfusion. 55 (6 Pt 2): 1545–54. doi:10.1111/trf.13069. PMID 25764134.
  13. ^ Perincheri, Sudhir; Torres, Richard; Tormey, Christopher A.; Smith, Brian R.; Rinder, Henry M.; Siddon, Alexa J. (2016-12-02). "Daratumumab Interferes with Flow Cytometric Evaluation of Multiple Myeloma". Blood. 128 (22): 5630–5630. ISSN 0006-4971.
  14. ^ a b "Daratumumab - Janssen Biotech - AdisInsight". adisinsight.springer.com.
  15. ^ "ASCO: Drug Shows Promise in Myeloma". MedPage Today.
  16. ^ "'Daratumumab Continues To Show Promise For Relapsed/Refractory Myeloma Patients (ASH 2012)'". The Myeloma Beacon. Retrieved 2013-01-31.