Bruno Paiva, PhD of the University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain gives an overview of his talk on immunophenotyping for multiple myeloma (MM) at the 2016 European Multiple Myeloma Academy (EMMA) in Madrid, Spain. Dr Paiva explains that immunophenotyping based on flow cytometry is a routine and widely used test around the world with many applications beyond multiple myeloma. It has to be shown to be of clear prognostic value regarding minimal residual disease (MRD) assessment. However, he points out that, because of its wide availability and lack of consensus in standardized protocols, different methodologies were adapted by different groups. Further, there is a lack of sensitivty compared to the most sensitive molecular methods. The focus at Dr Paiva’s group has been to develop a method that is as sensitive as the best molecular methods, as well as a protocol that has been optimized and validated. Further, as myeloma is a very heterogeneous disease, they are not only looking into monitoring MRD but also trying to understand the biology of the MRD cell and the microenvironment surrounding it. Dr Paiva further explains that MRD might be the best prognostic marker in myeloma but it is not the only one. All of them need to be integrated for accurate prediction of outcomes, according to Dr Paiva. Further, these new technologies need to be successfully introduced into clinical practice.
This programme has been supported by Celgene and Amgen through an unrestricted educational grant to the Video Journal of Hematological Oncology.