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Hoster, Eva; Pott, Christiane (2016): Minimal residual disease in mantle cell lymphoma: insights into biology and impact on treatment. In: Hematology. American Society of Hematology. Education Program, Vol. 2016, No. 1: pp. 437-445
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Despite the recent substantial improvement of clinical outcome in mantle cell lymphoma (MCL), resistance to immunochemotherapy and common relapses are challenges for long-term tumor control. The assessment of minimal residual disease (MRD) by real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction has emerged as a widely feasible and standardized tool for direct assessment of therapy-induced reduction of tumor burden and regrowth after cytotoxic treatment in MCL, with much improved sensitivity compared with conventional staging procedures. Several studies have shown that intensification of initial treatment, which has resulted in improved clinical outcome, is immediately reflected in higher molecular remission rates; they have also shown that high-dose consolidation might not be able to compensate for less intensive induction regimens. Persistence or reappearance of MRD in clinical remission proved to be highly predictive for imminent clinical relapse associated with shorter overall survival. Therefore, the investigation of novel MRD-guided treatment strategies aimed at early eradication of MRD and pre-emptive treatment of molecular relapse seems warranted. Furthermore, the integration of MRD assessment into clinical response criteria could result in a more specific and potentially earlier end point for treatment efficacy. New technical developments such as high-throughput sequencing will further enhance the wide applicability of MRD detection in MCL.