Using MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry in peripheral blood for the follow up of newly diagnosed multiple myeloma patients treated with daratumumab-based combination therapy

Clin Chim Acta. 2021 May:516:136-141. doi: 10.1016/j.cca.2021.01.021. Epub 2021 Feb 2.


Background: Daratumumab-based combination therapies have shown high rates of complete response (CR) and minimal residual disease negativity in patients with multiple myeloma. However, daratumumab, an IgGκ monoclonal antibody, interferes with electrophoretic techniques making it difficult to reliably define residual disease versus CR, especially in patients with IgGκ multiple myeloma.

Methods: Enrichment with polyclonal sheep antibody-coated magnetic microparticles combined with MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) analysis was used to detect M-proteins in serial samples from newly diagnosed multiple myeloma patients treated with daratumumab-based therapy. The performance of the MALDI-TOF MS assay was compared to that of a routine test panel (serum protein electrophoresis (SPEP), immunofixation (IFE) and serum free light chain (FLC)).

Results: Comparison of MALDI-TOF MS to SPEP/IFE/FLC showed a concordance of 84.9% (p < 0.001). When MALDI-TOF MS and FLC results were combined, the M-protein detection rate was the same or better than the routine test panel. For the 9 patients who obtained CR during follow-up, MALDI-TOF MS detected an M-protein in 46% of subsequent samples. Daratumumab could be distinguished from the M-protein in 215/222 samples.

Conclusion: MALDI-TOF MS is useful in assessing CR in patients treated with monoclonal antibody-based therapies.

Keywords: Daratumumab; Immunofixation; MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry; Multiple myeloma; M−protein.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Multiple Myeloma* / diagnosis
  • Multiple Myeloma* / drug therapy
  • Sheep
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • daratumumab