Multiple Myeloma (MM) therapy has evolved rapidly over the past decade. With current multidrug combinations and autologous transplant, rates of overall response exceed 90% and complete response (CR) more than 50% in some studies. Unfortunately, despite higher rates of CR, relapse rates remain high suggesting that persistent disease may not be measured by current techniques. Traditionally, response rates were defined by urine and serum protein electrophoresis, immunofixation and histopathological absence of clonal plasma cells in the bone marrow. Currently, there are several validated sensitive assays to evaluate for MRD (minimal residual disease); multiparameter flow cytometry (MFC) including nextgeneration flow cytometry (NGF), next-generation sequencing (NGS), and allele specific oligonucleotide quantitative polymerase chain reaction (ASO-qPCR). These methods have provided a means to quantitatively assess residual disease and accurately prognosticate PFS and OS in myeloma. In this chapter, we will discuss the current techniques for MRD detection as well as describe techniques that are emerging for improved characterization of drug resistant residual populations that could be adapted for MRD monitoring in the future. While improved therapies are able to eradicate the dominant clone, resistant sub-clones persist and remain undetectable even by MRD techniques. Characterization of these clones will help design therapies against drug-resistant clones and move us closer to a cure in MM.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
PublisherSpringer New York LLC
Number of pages19
StatePublished - 2018

Publication series

NameAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
ISSN (Print)0065-2598
ISSN (Electronic)2214-8019


  • ASO-qPCR
  • Bone marrow
  • CD138
  • ECM
  • MRD
  • Mass cytometry
  • Microenvironment
  • Multiparametric flow cytometry
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Next generation sequencing


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