Immunoassays for Measuring Serum Concentrations of Monoclonal Antibodies and Anti-biopharmaceutical Antibodies in Patients
Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) may be used as biopharmaceuticals to treat various diseases, ranging from oncology to inflammatory and cardiovascular affections. Trustworthy analytical methods are necessary to study their pharmacokinetics, both during their development and in post-marketing studies. Because biopharmaceuticals are macromolecules, ligand-binding assays (both immunoassays and bioassays) are methods of choice to measure their concentrations. Immunoassays are based on the capture of biopharmaceuticals by their target, which may be a circulating or membrane antigen or by an antibody recognizing their structure. Bioassays measure the activity of the biopharmaceutical in a specific in vitro test. A number of techniques have been reported, but their limits of detection and quantification vary widely. Anti-drug antibodies (ADA) against biopharmaceuticals are often formed and sometimes interfere with clinical efficacy. Accurate and reliable detection of ADA is therefore necessary. Binding of ADA is dependent on affinity and avidity, which makes quantification challenging. In this review, we discuss the benefits and limitations of each method to determine mAb levels and carefully compare ADA assays.