Daratumumab interference in flow cytometric anti-granulocyte antibody testing can be overcome using non-human blocking antibodies

Nisar A. Baig, Brian A. Dukek, Deborah K. Falbo, Laurie L. Wakefield, Margaret A. DiGuardo, Aleh Bobr, Justin D. Kreuter, Manish J. Gandhi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Daratumumab (DARA), a human IgG1K monoclonal antibody targeting CD38, is used to treat refractory multiple myeloma patients. CD38 is expressed on many cell types (RBCs, granulocytes, lymphocytes, etc.), and thus, DARA can interfere with serological tests. Information regarding how DARA affects anti-granulocyte antibody (AGA) testing and optimal neutralization of DARA will help laboratories perform accurate testing. Methods: Screening of AGA was performed by the granulocyte agglutination test (GAT) and the flow cytometric granulocyte immunofluorescence test (Flow-GIFT). Samples were tested from patients on DARA (n = 7), non-transfused blood donors (healthy controls, n = 7) and AGA reactive samples (positive controls, n = 5). Two neutralization experiments, CD38 removal with DTT and DARA epitope blockage with mouse anti-CD38, were evaluated. Results: Positive reactivity of human IgG binding was observed in 5/7 DARA cases when tested by Flow-GIFT; however, all 7 cases had negative GAT agglutination results. Further studies by Flow-GIFT revealed DARA concentrations >0·63 μg/ml bound to granulocytes. DARA binding was negated by DTT though a reduced Flow-GIFT sensitivity was observed in positive control samples due to increased background detection of human IgG. Mouse anti-CD38 neutralized the detection of human IgG observed in DARA-treated patient serum without effecting controls. Conclusion: We established that DARA can interfere with AGA testing, leading to false positive Flow-GIFT results without causing GAT agglutination. DTT treatment increased background binding of secondary antibodies causing a decrease in Flow-GIFT sensitivity. In comparison, blockage of the DARA binding epitope using mouse anti-CD38 antibody was effective in neutralizing DARA interference while maintaining Flow-GIFT sensitivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-122
Number of pages7
JournalVox Sanguinis
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • DARA
  • Daratumumab
  • anti-granulocyte antibody
  • granulocyte

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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