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What Is Minimal Residual Disease (MRD)?

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Published on November 13, 2018

Minimal residual disease (MRD) is the term used for the small number of cancer cells that remain in the body during or after treatment. Monitoring MRD can help to provide insights into a patient’s disease and treatment path. View this video to learn more about MRD,  advances in next-generation testing, the impact of test results, and tools for communicating with your healthcare team.

Sponsored by Adaptive Biotechnologies. This organization has no editorial control. It is produced solely by Patient Power.

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Transcript | What Is Minimal Residual Disease (MRD)?

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That's how you’ll get care that's most appropriate for you.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

MRD is the term used for the small number of cancer cells that remain in the body during or after treatment. Monitoring MRD can provide detailed insights into a patient’s disease status and their response to treatment. The presence of MRD in a patient’s body may be associated with increased likelihood for the disease to return after treatment. 

MRD is usually tested for in the blood or bone marrow. MRD is currently detected using the following techniques: flow cytometry, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), next-generation sequencing (NGS) and next-generation flow (NGF) cytometry. 

An MRD-positive result means that residual disease was detected. An MRD-negative result means that residual disease was not detected, also known as undetectable MRD. MRD-negative results indicate that a patient is less likely to relapse. MRD results asses the depth response to treatment, assists in evaluating whether a treatment is working, monitors remission status and aids in early detection of relapse.

Questions to Ask Your Healthcare Team About MRD Testing

  • Do I need to have an MRD test?
  • When and how often should I have an MRD test?
  • What does an MRD-positive or MRD-negative status mean for me?
  • How might MRD results affect my treatment plan?
  • What tests are available and how do they vary in sensitivity and accuracy?
  • Is MRD testing covered by insurance?
  • Is financial assistance available?

Visit patientpower.info/MRD to learn more about MRD testing.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.