Measurable Residual Disease Could Improve Multiple Myeloma Treatment Decisions

December 6, 2020
Kevin Kunzmann

A discussion with a study author and longtime expert on improving monitoring of the rare disease.

A new study presented at the American Society of Hematology (ASH) 2020 Annual Meeting this weekend showed measurable residual disease (MRD) assessments may better inform therapy decision-making in patients with multiple myeloma.

The retrospective trial, presented by an international team of US and Spain investigators, showed that therapy changes based on MRD resulted in prolonged progression-free survival in patients with multiple myeloma versus control.

The findings could indicate that MRD assessment, commonly a secondary use of disease assessment in the rare disease patient population, may be a vital addition to multiple myeloma management.

In an interview with HCPLive during ASH 2020, study author Jeffrey Wolf, MD, of the University of California, San Francisco, discussed the basis of the assessment, and shared his personal history in observing the progression of multiple myeloma assessment and care.

In his 4 decades of managing the disease, Wolf has been impressed by the vitality of blood tests in multiple myeloma. But there’s much more to assess when considering therapy adjustments in such patients. He likened current monitoring standards to a melting iceberg.

“We think we have a complete melt, but we don’t,” he explained. “There’s still an iceberg under the water, and that’s what we’re measuring with MRD element.”

The study, “Making Clinical Decisions to Change Therapy Using Measurable Residual Disease Improves the Outcome in Multiple Myeloma,” was presented at ASH 2020.


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