BACKGROUND: Daratumumab, a human anti-CD38 monoclonal antibody used to treat multiple myeloma, interferes with pretransfusion testing and can mask alloantibodies. Incidence of alloimmunization in patients on daratumumab has not been well characterized, and optimal transfusion guidelines regarding prophylactic antigen matching, accounting for both patient safety and efficiency, have not been well established for these patients.
METHODS: Records of patients who received daratumumab between January 1, 2014 and July 2, 2019 were reviewed. Daratumumab interference with pretransfusion testing was managed by testing with reagent red blood cells (RBCs) treated with 0.2 M dithiothreitol. When daratumumab was present during antibody testing, patients were transfused with RBC units prophylactically matched for D, C, c, E, e, and K antigens per hospital policy.
RESULTS: Out of 90 patients identified, 52 received a total of 638 RBC transfusions (average of 12.3 units per patient, SD 17.2, range 1-105, median 5 among those transfused). Alloantibodies existing before daratumumab initiation were identified in seven patients. No new alloantibodies were detected in any patients after starting daratumumab treatment.
CONCLUSIONS: The incidence of alloimmunization in patients receiving daratumumab is low. Whether this is due to the effect of daratumumab, underlying pathophysiology, or other factors, is unknown. Because these patients require a large number of RBC transfusions overall and have little observed alloimmunization, phenotype matching (beyond RhD) may be unnecessary. Since the use of dithiothreitol cannot rule out the presence of anti-K, we recommend transfusion of ABO-compatible units, prophylactically matched for the D and K antigens only.