Daratumumab (Anti-CD38) Interference with Compatibility Testing

This is a revised version of a previous post.


Daratumumab is a monoclonal antibody that binds to CD38 antigen, which is expressed weakly on the surface of all RBCs.  It may thus cause a positive direct antiglobulin test DAT and so interfere with compatibility testing if an antiglobulin phase is required.

This effect may persist up to 6 months after discontinuing the drug.  The monoclonal antibody does not interfere with routine ABO/D typing.

Special techniques (neutralization of CD38 antibodies by CD38 anti-idiotypic antibodies, or soluble CD38 antigen) may remove the panreactivity but may not be generally available.  DTT, a sulfhydryl reagent may denature the native CD38 antigen on RBCs but it should be used under a biologic hood.

Kell antigens will be denatured so Kell antibodies cannot be detected after treatment so Kell-negative RBCs should be used.  In the Gulf Area, this is about 72% of RBCs.


  1. The clinical services must inform Transfusion Medicine of patients who will be receiving daratumumab therapy BEFORE treatment is started.
  2. Transfusion Medicine staff will enter a general comment (i.e. not associated with a particular result) in the patients Medinfo HIIG record:  PATIENT ON DARATUMUMAB.
  3. If not already done, Transfusion Medicine staff will perform an extended antigen typing:  at least C, c, E, e, K, k, Kpa, Jka, Jkb, Fya, Fyb ,M, N, S, s, Lea, Leb, P1—even if no antibodies are currently identified.
  4. Transfusion Medicine staff will send each such patient’s record to a Transfusion Medicine Physician to determine the blood type including extended antigens to match for future transfusions.
  5. When compatibility testing is requested, perform it as per our SOPs.
  6. If available, prepare DTT-treated cells for testing but realize that this will denature Kell antigens.  Use K-nell RBCs.
  7. Release least “incompatible” RBCs must be approved by the Transfusion Medicine Physician.
  8. When the DAT becomes negative (i.e. up to SIX months after cessation of Daratumumab therapy), routine compatibility testing and RBC selection will apply.


Trick or Treatment, Anti-CD38 Reactivity and How to Treat It, AABB Satellite Symposium transcript, U. Cincinnati and RedMedEd, October, 2015 (attachment)

Service Level Agreement Example

At HMC Doha, I used service level agreements SLA to specifically define responsibilities in a contract for service between various entities including:

  • Transfusion Medicine and outside clients (blood components and transfusion testing)
  • Transfusion Medicine and HMC departments outside blood bank (e.g. operating theatres, liver transplant, trauma, etc.)
  • Blood Donor Center and HMC hospital blood banks

The following is a sample of a previous SLA between the Transfusion Medicine Division and one of HMC’s hospital’s operating theatres.

Summary of Accomplishments at Hamad Medical Corporation 2011-2020


Established automated component production using Atreus technology, plasma and platelet pathogen inactivation (Mirasol)—made HMC component production Good Manufacturing System GMP compliant


Qatar is the first to adopt non-PCR-based NAT technology (Grifols/Novartis Tigress) and becomes world reference site for this


Based on the above, Qatar can now completely process all whole blood into blood components (red cells, platelets, and plasma) in as little as 5 hours from collection!


I established policies and procedures for the hospital blood banks/transfusion services, blood donor center, therapeutic apheresis, and laboratory information systems to bring HMC in compliance with the Council of Europe, international AABB, and other standards.  I customized our own standards for our local needs based on them.


Implemented custom build of the multilingual blood bank computer system (Medinfo) for both patient and donor services, including development of interfaces to all production equipment including Atreus and Mirasol (world’s first) and a direct link to Ministry of the Interior to obtain patient demographics in English and Arabic—Qatar became the world’s first site to combine fully-interfaced, automated component production with pathogen inactivation:  Qatar becomes world reference site for this.


Built, validated, and implemented laboratory build of hospital information system, Cerner Millennium


Replaced and updated Atreus with Reveos automated component production to allow faster throughput and capacity with a full bidirectional interface (world’s first), introduced platelet

additive solution PAS with pathogen inactivation (Mirasol)—Medinfo interfaces updated to Reveos for all equipment:  this doubles the capacity to process whole blood into components using the same physical space


Updated dedicated blood bank software Medinfo Hematos IIG by several versions using Division Head, LIS, and internally trained Super Users—at great cost savings to HMC by not using outside consultants (e.g. Dell Consulting)


Established column absorption technology using Terumo Optia therapeutic apheresis machine for treatment of ABO-incompatible renal transplants:  I validated using the Ortho Vision MAX to perform ABO antibody titers for this system and correlated it with the reference method at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm (manual gel) to bring rapid throughput and labor savings—Qatar being the first-site in the world to do this.  We saved money by using the same apheresis machine to use this column absorption technology (no need for second machine to use the columns)


Expedited setup (two weeks total) of COVID-19 convalescent plasma production, initially manual and then fully integrated into the Medinfo computer system as a customized module with separate quarantine collection, production, and transfusion service functions


I was awarded two HMC Star of Excellence Awards:

2013—Liver Transplantation Transfusion Support

2019—ABO-Incompatible Renal Transplantation Support