International Journal of Hematology

DOI: 10.1007/s12185-019-02685-z Pages: 322-330

VS38 as a promising CD38 substitute antibody for flow cytometric detection of plasma cells in the daratumumab era

1. Hyogo Prefectural Amagasaki General Medical Center, Department of Clinical Laboratory

2. Kobe University Graduate School of Health Sciences, Laboratory of Hematology, Division of Medical Biophysics

3. Hyogo Prefectural Amagasaki General Medical Center, Department of Hematology

4. Kyoto University, Department of Hematology and Oncology, Graduate School of Medicine

Correspondence to:
Shumpei Mizuta
Tel: 81-06-6480-7000



The development of effective therapies has enabled long-term survival for many patients with multiple myeloma (MM). However, the administration of antibody drugs, such as daratumumab, which bind to plasma cell (PC) surface proteins, may prevent PC detection by flow cytometry. We propose VS38 as an alternative antibody for CD38. VS38 recognizes cytoskeleton-linking membrane protein 63 (CLIMP-63) on the rough endoplasmic reticulum, and this protein may be expressed in secretory cells. We investigated VS38 staining in normal hematopoietic cells from five control samples, as well as PCs from 21 patients with plasma cell disorder (PCD). In normal hematopoietic cells, although VS38-stained monocytes, myeloid cells, and a subpopulation of B cells, PCs were significantly and brightly stained by VS38. There was no significant difference in VS38 staining between normal and abnormal PCs obtained from five patients with monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance. Furthermore, PCs in 21 PCD cases were clearly identified by VS38 in all cases, in contrast to CD38, even in daratumumab-administered patients whose CD38 epitopes on PCs were masked. These results suggest that the use of the VS38 antibody in flow cytometry contributes to PC detection, independent of therapeutic treatment.

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