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EMMA Vienna 2017 | Challenges and future perspectives for minimal residual disease (MRD) in multiple myeloma

Irene Ghobrial, MD from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA, chairs a discussion on the detection of minimal residual disease (MRD) in multiple myeloma (MM) patients during the 2017 European Multiple Myeloma Academy (EMMA) in Vienna, Austria. The expert panel, featuring Hervé Avet-Loiseau, MD, PhD from University Hospital Toulouse, France, and Bruno Paiva, PhD, from the University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain, discussed the classification of positive and negative MRD patients and whether they should be treated differently. Techniques for detection of MRD have evolved, it is therefore critical that physicians understand recently well-refined criteria, and the specific method for detection that should be used in each situation. They talk about the controversies and disagreements that exist within the medical community and try to define where we should be aligned on our approach; however, the most interesting part of the debate was regarding how we will use MRD in the clinic to benefit patients as part of the standard of care, and to inform treatment decisions. Is it too early to think about this, or are current clinical trials already providing us with guidance? The experts draw on results from recent trials to explore the answers to this question; in particular, those from the POLLUX (NCT02076009) and CASTOR (NCT02136134) trials. Finally, Dr. Ghobrial challenges her colleagues on whether they would consider using other types of diagnostic, such as liquid biopsies in a trial setting? This program was sponsored by Celgene through an unrestricted educational grant to the Video Journal of Hematological Oncology.