Daratumumab for the treatment of multiple myeloma

Drugs Today (Barc). 2021 Oct;57(10):591-605. doi: 10.1358/dot.2021.57.10.3313853.


Since its initial approval in 2015, daratumumab has had a tremendous impact on the treatment of multiple myeloma. It is a monoclonal antibody that targets CD38, an antigen with high surface expression on multiple myeloma cells. While it initially received approval as a monotherapy for multiply relapsed multiple myeloma, its favorable toxicity profile allowed for combinations with other novel myeloma therapies leading to numerous indications as a component of triplet and quadruplet regimens. These indications now span relapsed/refractory populations and both transplant-eligible and transplant-ineligible patients with newly diagnosed myeloma. Further investigations are underway to continue to expand the reach of daratumumab, including large phase III collaborative trials to assess the efficacy of daratumumab as part of post-transplant maintenance and its impact on smoldering myeloma. The recent introduction of a subcutaneous formulation of daratumumab with proven noninferiority will improve the convenience and accessibility of the drug. In this review, we examine the preclinical development of daratumumab, its pharmacology and clinical investigations that demonstrated its safety and efficacy. Furthermore, we discuss the outstanding questions related to daratumumab and ongoing clinical trials seeking to answer them.

Keywords: Anti-CD38 agents; Cancer immunotherapy; Daratumumab; Hematologic malignancies; Monoclonal antibodies; Multiple myeloma.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Immunological*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols
  • Humans
  • Multiple Myeloma* / drug therapy


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Immunological
  • daratumumab