Targeting CD38 with daratumumab is lethal to Waldenström macroglobulinaemia cells Academic Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Colitis
  • Colon
  • Intestinal Mucosa
  • Leukemia, Lymphocytic, Chronic, B-Cell
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Purines
  • Quinazolinones


  • CD38 is expressed on Waldenström macroglobulinaemia (WM) cells, but its role as a therapeutic target remains undefined. With recent approval of the anti-CD38 monoclonal antibody, daratumumab (Dara), we hypothesized that blocking CD38 would be lethal to WM cells. In vitro Dara treatment of WM cells (including ibrutinib-resistant lines) elicited antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC), complement-dependent cytotoxicity (CDC), antibody-dependent cell phagocytosis (ADCP) and direct apoptosis. In vivo, Dara treatment was well tolerated and delayed tumour growth in RPCI-WM1-xenografted mice. CD38 is reported to augment B-cell receptor (BCR) signalling; we noted that Dara significantly attenuated phosphorylated SYK, LYN, BTK, PLCγ2, ERK1/2, AKT, mTOR, and S6 levels, and this effect was augmented by cotreatment with ibrutinib. Indeed, WM cells, including ibrutinib-resistant WM cell lines treated with the ibrutinib + Dara combination, showed significantly more cell death through ADCC, CDC, ADCP and apoptosis relative to single-agent Dara or ibrutinib. In summary, we are the first to report the in vitro and in vivo anti-WM activity of Dara. Furthermore, we show a close connection between BCR and CD38 signalling, which can be co-targeted with ibrutinib + Dara to induce marked WM cell death, irrespective of acquired resistance to ibrutinib.

publication date

  • January 2018



  • Academic Article



  • eng

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/bjh.15515

PubMed ID

  • 30080238

Additional Document Info