Detection of minimal disseminated disease (MDD) at diagnosis correlates with relapse risk in children with anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-positive anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (ALCL). We investigated whether minimal residual disease (MRD) positivity by qualitative reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for Nucleophosmin (NPM)-ALK during treatment identifies patients at the highest relapse risk. Blood and/or bone marrow of 180 patients with NPM-ALK-positive ALCL treated with Berlin-Frankfurt-Münster-type protocols were screened for NPM-ALK transcripts at diagnosis; 103 were found to be MDD-positive. MRD before the second therapy course could be evaluated in 52 MDD-positive patients. MRD positivity correlated with uncommon histology. The cumulative incidence of relapses (CIR) of 26 MDD-positive/MRD-positive patients (81% ± 8%) was significantly higher than the CIR of 26 MDD-positive/MRD-negative (31% ± 9%) and 77 MDD-negative patients (15% ± 5%) (P < .001). Five-year survival of MDD-negative and MDD-positive/MRD-negative patients was 91% ± 3% and 92% ± 5%, respectively, compared with 65% ± 9% of MDD-positive/MRD-positive patients (P < .001). Early evaluation of MRD in NPM-ALK-positive ALCL identifies patients with a very high relapse risk and inferior survival.