Antidrug antibody detection for adalimumab depends on the type of assay used: an experimental approach to help clinicians interpret diagnostic data

Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2019 Sep-Oct;37(5):756-761. Epub 2019 Mar 18.


Objectives: To compare different methods of antidrug antibody (ADA) against adalimumab detection in ankylosing spondylitis (AS) patients and the impact of ADA on adalimumab drug levels and mean ASDAS-CRP.

Methods: We used the acid-dissociation-radioimmunoassay (ARIA), antidrug-binding-test (ABT) and a bridging Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) to detect ADA at 4, 12 and 24 weeks of treatment. Patients were divided into groups; all assays negative (All-neg), only ARIA positive (ARIA-only-pos), ARIA and ABT positive, bridging ELISA negative (ARIA/ABT-double-pos) and all assays positive (All-pos).

Results: Eighty-three consecutive AS patient were included. At week 4, 18% compared to 11% and 0% of the patients tested positive for ADA in the ARIA, ABT and bridging ELISA, respectively. At week 12 and 24, cumulative 52% and 69% patients tested positive in the ARIA, compared to 27% and 30% patients in the ABT and 2% patients in the bridging ELISA. Adalimumab levels between All-neg and ARIA-only-pos were 9.1 (5.5-12.5) and 8.5 (5.7-12.3). Drug levels differed between ARIA/ABT-double-pos (2.7 (1.3-4.4)) and All-neg (9.1 (5.5-12.5)). All-pos patients had undetectable drug levels. Mean ASDAS-CRP at week 24 differs between All-neg (1.9 (±1.2)), and All-pos (3.8 (±1.9)) and ARIA/ABT-double-pos (2.0 (±1.1)) and All-pos.

Conclusions: The majority of AS patients had detectable ADA against adalimumab in the ARIA. The ARIA detects more ADA compared to the less drug tolerant ABT and bridging ELISA. The clinical relevance depends on the impact on the bio-availability of the drug. A drug level measurement therefore helps to interpret ADA data regardless of type of assay used.

MeSH terms

  • Adalimumab / immunology*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / immunology*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid* / drug therapy
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid* / immunology
  • Drug Tolerance
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Humans
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing* / drug therapy
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing* / immunology


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Adalimumab