Minimal Residual Disease Assessment in CLL: Ready for Use in Clinical Routine?

Hemasphere. 2019 Aug 9;3(5):e287. doi: 10.1097/HS9.0000000000000287. eCollection 2019 Oct.


The introduction of chemoimmunotherapy and more recently the implementation of novel agents into first-line and relapse treatment have substantially improved treatment outcomes in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL). With longer progression-free survival and more frequently observed deep remissions there is an emerging need for sensitive methods quantitating residual disease after therapy. Over the last decade, assessment of minimal residual disease (MRD) has increasingly been implemented in CLL trials. The predictive value of MRD status on survival outcomes has repeatedly been proven in the context of chemoimmunotherapy and cellular therapies. Recent data suggests a similar correlation for Bcl-2 inhibitor-based therapy. While the relevance of MRD assessment as a surrogate endpoint in clinical trials is largely undisputed, its role in routine clinical practice has not yet been well defined. This review outlines current methods of MRD detection in CLL and summarizes MRD data from relevant trials. The significance of MRD testing in clinical studies and in routine patient care is assessed and new MRD-guided treatment strategies are discussed.

Publication types

  • Review