Considerations for pre-transfusion immunohaematology testing in patients receiving the anti-CD38 monoclonal antibody daratumumab for the treatment of multiple myeloma

Intern Med J. 2018 Feb;48(2):210-220. doi: 10.1111/imj.13707.


In recent years, the anti-CD38 monoclonal antibody daratumumab (Darzalex; Janssen-Cilag Pty Ltd) has been shown to be highly efficacious in relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma, with the final results of treatment in newly diagnosed patients awaited. Despite awareness of the potential interference of daratumumab in pre-transfusion immunohaematology testing during phase I and II clinical studies, there was a degree of unpreparedness in the community upon the introduction of this drug into the clinics, particularly the impact that it has on the operational processes in hospital transfusion laboratories and timely issue of red blood cells (RBCs). Anti-CD38 interference in pre-transfusion immunohaematology tests is a particular problem in patients being treated with daratumumab for multiple myeloma as many will require RBC transfusions during their disease treatment. Panagglutination caused by anti-CD38 monoclonal antibody during the indirect antiglobulin test may mask the presence of a clinically significant RBC alloantibody in the patient's plasma during the antibody screen and identification process, which may be overlooked, particularly in urgent situations, subsequently resulting in a delayed or acute haemolytic transfusion reaction. Here, we summarise daratumumab's effects on pre-transfusion immunohaematology testing and its impact on clinical practice and make practical recommendations based on a consensus from medical and scientific transfusion experts and myeloma specialists on behalf of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Blood Transfusion and Myeloma Scientific Advisory Group to Myeloma Australia, respectively.

Keywords: daratumumab; immunohaematology; multiple myeloma; transfusion.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • ADP-ribosyl Cyclase 1 / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • ADP-ribosyl Cyclase 1 / blood
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / pharmacology
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Blood Transfusion / methods*
  • Blood Transfusion / standards
  • Humans
  • Multiple Myeloma / blood
  • Multiple Myeloma / drug therapy*
  • Multiple Myeloma / epidemiology
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Societies, Medical


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • daratumumab
  • ADP-ribosyl Cyclase 1