Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 410, Issue 11, pp 2829–2836 | Cite as

Development of an analytical method to assess the occupational health risk of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies using LC-HRMS

  • Lars M. H. Reinders
  • Martin D. Klassen
  • Martin Jaeger
  • Thorsten Teutenberg
  • Jochen Tuerk
Research Paper


Monoclonal antibodies are a group of commonly used therapeutics, whose occupational health risk is still discussed controversially. The long-term low-dose exposure side effects are insufficiently evaluated; hence, discussions are often based on a theoretical level or extrapolating side effects from therapeutic dosages. While some research groups recommend applying the precautionary principle for monoclonal antibodies, others consider the exposure risk too low for measures taken towards occupational health and safety. However, both groups agree that airborne monoclonal antibodies have the biggest risk potential. Therefore, we developed a peptide-based analytical method for occupational exposure monitoring of airborne monoclonal antibodies. The method will allow collecting data about the occupational exposure to monoclonal antibodies. Thus, the mean daily intake for personnel in pharmacies and the pharmaceutical industry can be determined for the first time and will help to substantiate the risk assessment by relevant data. The introduced monitoring method includes air sampling, sample preparation and detection by liquid chromatography coupled with high-resolution mass spectrometry of individual monoclonal antibodies as well as sum parameter. For method development and validation, a chimeric (rituximab), humanised (trastuzumab) and a fully humanised (daratumumab) monoclonal antibody are used. A limit of detection between 1 μg per sample for daratumumab and 25 μg per sample for the collective peptide is achieved.

Graphical abstract

Demonstration of the analytical workflow, from the release of monoclonal antibodies to the detection as single substances as well as sum parameter.


Monoclonal antibody Occupational exposure Sensitising High-resolution mass spectrometry Airborne Sum parameter 



We thank Agilent Technologies and especially Dr. Bita Kolahgar for providing the HPLC-QTOF system and the technical support.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

216_2018_966_MOESM1_ESM.docx (68 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 67 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lars M. H. Reinders
    • 1
    • 2
  • Martin D. Klassen
    • 1
  • Martin Jaeger
    • 2
  • Thorsten Teutenberg
    • 1
  • Jochen Tuerk
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Energie und Umwelttechnik e. V. (IUTA, Institute of Energy and Environmental Technology)DuisburgGermany
  2. 2.Hochschule Niederrhein (University of Applied Science Niederrhein)KrefeldGermany

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