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Monoclonal antibody
Type Whole antibody
Source Human
Target CD38
Clinical data
Trade names Darzalex
AHFS/Drugs.com Multum Consumer Information
Routes of
ATC code
Legal status
Legal status
CAS Number
  • none
Chemical and physical data
Formula C6466H9996N1724O2010S42
Molar mass 145,391.67 g·mol−1
 NYesY (what is this?)  (verify)

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 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]

The European Commission granted a marketing authorisation on 20 May 2016.[9] 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.[10]


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. Fortunately, 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. [11] 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 upto 6 months after stopping the medicine. Furthermore, blood transfusion centers should be routinely notified when sending such a sample.


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.[12]


Encouraging preliminary results were reported in June 2012 from a Phase 1/2 clinical trial in relapsed multiple myeloma patients.[13] Updated trial results presented in December 2012 indicate daratumumab is continuing to show promising single-agent anti-myeloma activity.[14] 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).[15]


  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. ISSN 1533-4406. PMID 26308596. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1506348. 
  3. ^ "'Janssen Biotech Announces Global License and Development Agreement for Investigational Anti-Cancer Agent Daratumumab'". Janssen Biotech. Retrieved 2013-01-31. 
  4. ^ http://ir.genmab.com/releasedetail.cfm?releaseid=760960
  5. ^ http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/854548?nlid=91686_3663&src=wnl_edit_newsal&uac=78316PX&impID=890536&faf=1
  6. ^ http://www.centerwatch.com/drug-information/fda-approved-drugs/drug/100115/darzalex-daratumumab
  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. ^ http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/InformationOnDrugs/ApprovedDrugs/ucm530249.htm
  9. ^ http://www.ema.europa.eu/docs/en_GB/document_library/EPAR_-_Summary_for_the_public/human/004077/WC500207298.pdf
  10. ^ http://www.ema.europa.eu/docs/en_GB/document_library/EPAR_-_Product_Information/human/004077/WC500207296.pdf
  11. ^ 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. PMID 25764134. doi:10.1111/trf.13069. 
  12. ^ http://adisinsight.springer.com/drugs/800022454
  13. ^ "ASCO: Drug Shows Promise in Myeloma". MedPage Today. 
  14. ^ "'Daratumumab Continues To Show Promise For Relapsed/Refractory Myeloma Patients (ASH 2012)'". The Myeloma Beacon. Retrieved 2013-01-31. 
  15. ^ http://adisinsight.springer.com/drugs/800022454