Efficacy and safety of daratumumab combined with all-trans retinoic acid in relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma

K.A. Frerichs, M.C. Minnema, M.D. Levin, A. Broijl, G.M.J. Bos, M.J. Kersten, T. Mutis, C.P.M. Verkleij, I.S. Nijhof, P.W.C. Maas-Bosman, S.K. Klein, S. Zweegman, P. Sonneveld, N.W.C.J. van de Donk*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The efficacy of daratumumab depends partially on CD38 expression on multiple myeloma (MM) cells. We have previously shown that all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) upregulates CD38 expression and reverts daratumumab-resistance ex vivo. We therefore evaluated the optimal dose, efficacy, and safety of daratumumab combined with ATRA in patients with daratumumab-refractory MM in a phase 1/2 study (NCT02751255). In part A of the study, 63 patients were treated with daratumumab monotherapy. Fifty patients with daratumumabrefractory MM were subsequently enrolled in part B and treated with daratumumab (reintensified schedule) combined with ATRA until disease progression. The recommended phase 2 dose of ATRA in combination with daratumumab was defined as 45 mg/m2. At this dose, the overall response rate (ORR) was 5%, indicating that the primary endpoint (ORR $15%) was not met. However, most patients (66%) achieved at least stable disease. After a median follow-up of 43 months, the median progression-free survival (PFS) for all patients was 2.8 months. Patients who previously achieved at least a partial response or minimal response/stable disease with prior daratumumab monotherapy had a significantly longer PFS compared with patients who immediately progressed during daratumumab as single agent (median PFS 3.4 and 2.8 vs 1.3 months). The median overall survival was 19.1 months. The addition of ATRA did not increase the incidence of adverse events. Flow cytometric analysis revealed that ATRA temporarily increased CD38 expression on immune cell subsets. In conclusion, the addition of ATRA and reintensification of daratumumab had limited activity in patients with daratumumab-refractory MM, which may be explained by the transient upregulation of CD38 expression. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT02751255.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5128-5139
Number of pages12
JournalBlood advances
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2021




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