Minimal Residual Disease Assessment in Multiple Myeloma by Multiparametric Flow Cytometry

Klin Onkol. 2017 Summer;30(Supplementum2):21-28. doi: 10.14735/amko20172S21.


Background: Progress in treatment of multiple myeloma extensively increased patient remission rates, so minimal residual disease (MRD) detection becomes essential to assess the effectivity of treatment and depth of complete response. Nowadays, multiparametric flow cytometry (MFC) is the most used method for monitoring of MRD presence in the bone marrow of multiple myeloma patients; however, detection on molecular level can be used as well. It is evident that choice of protocol used for MFC-MRD assessment can significantly affect required results; nevertheless, standardized and highly sensitive approach of "next generation flow" is already available. Although benefit of MRD assessment as an independent predictor of progression-free survival and overall survival is known, very recent research showed that MRD-negative status surpasses the prognostic value of complete response achievement for progression-free survival and overall survival.

Aim: This review is focused on use MFC in MRD assessment in multiple myeloma. The technical aspects and clinical benefits of this approach are mentioned as well.

Conclusion: The information about MRD level detected by highly sensitive and reproducible MFC can be potentially used as a biomarker to evaluate the efficacy of different treatment strategies, help on treatment decisions and act as a surrogate for overall survival in multiple myeloma patients.Key words: multiple myeloma - minimal residual disease - flow cytometry - plasma cells.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis
  • Flow Cytometry / methods*
  • Humans
  • Multiple Myeloma / mortality
  • Multiple Myeloma / pathology*
  • Multiple Myeloma / therapy
  • Neoplasm, Residual
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Biomarkers, Tumor