Detection of anti-drug antibodies using a bridging ELISA compared with radioimmunoassay in adalimumab-treated rheumatoid arthritis patients with random drug levels

Rheumatology (Oxford). 2016 Nov;55(11):2050-2055. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/kew299. Epub 2016 Aug 25.


Objective: To determine the concordance between RIA and bridging ELISA at detecting anti-drug antibodies (ADAbs) in the context of random adalimumab levels and investigate the additional clinical utility of detecting ADAbs in RA patients who test ADAb positive by RIA and negative by ELISA.

Methods: ADAb levels were determined using RIA and bridging ELISA in 63 adalimumab-treated RA patients (159 samples). Immunogenicity concordance was determined using receiver operating characteristic curves. To determine the additional clinical value provided by a positive RIA in the presence of negative ELISA, association between treatment response (ΔDAS28), adalimumab drug levels and ADAbs was evaluated longitudinally using generalized estimating equation.

Results: Of the 60 RIA+ samples (n = 31 patients), 19 (n = 10 patients) were also ELISA+, corresponding to 31.7% of samples. Area under the curve for detecting ADAbs using ELISA (compared with RIA) using receiver operating characteristic curves was 0.65 (95% CI: 0.59, 0.71); this increased to 0.91 (95% CI: 0.81, 0.99) if ADAbs were ⩾100 AU/ml using RIA. In RIA+/ELISA- patients, adalimumab levels were associated with ΔDAS28 over 12 months [regression coefficient: 0.098 (95% CI: 0.043, 0.15), P < 0.0001] and while ADAbs were significantly associated with drug level, they were not directly associated with ΔDAS28 over 12 months [β coefficient: 0.00083 (95% CI: -0.0038 to 0.0054), P = 0.72].

Conclusion: ADAbs were detected using ELISA more frequently when present in high titres as measured by RIA. In RIA+/ELISA- patients, only drug levels were significantly associated with treatment response. Although ADAbs were not independently associated with treatment response, they may be helpful in determining the aetiology of low drug levels.

Keywords: ELISA; RIA; TNF-inhibitors; adalimumab; anti-TNF; anti-drug antibodies; drug levels; human anti-human antibodies; immunogenicity; therapeutic drug monitoring.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adalimumab / immunology
  • Adalimumab / metabolism
  • Adalimumab / therapeutic use*
  • Antibodies / metabolism*
  • Antirheumatic Agents / immunology
  • Antirheumatic Agents / metabolism
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / immunology
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radioimmunoassay


  • Antibodies
  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Adalimumab