Targeting minimal residual disease: a path to cure?

Nat Rev Cancer. 2018 Apr;18(4):255-263. doi: 10.1038/nrc.2017.125. Epub 2018 Jan 29.


Therapeutics that block kinases, transcriptional modifiers, immune checkpoints and other biological vulnerabilities are transforming cancer treatment. As a result, many patients achieve dramatic responses, including complete radiographical or pathological remission, yet retain minimal residual disease (MRD), which results in relapse. New functional approaches can characterize clonal heterogeneity and predict therapeutic sensitivity of MRD at a single-cell level. Preliminary evidence suggests that iterative detection, profiling and targeting of MRD would meaningfully improve outcomes and may even lead to cure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Drug Therapy
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Myelogenous, Chronic, BCR-ABL Positive / pathology
  • Leukemia, Myelogenous, Chronic, BCR-ABL Positive / therapy
  • Neoplasm, Residual / pathology*
  • Neoplasm, Residual / therapy*
  • Precision Medicine / methods
  • Treatment Outcome