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Madhuri Vusirikala, MD, discusses the role of minimal residual disease in acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Madhuri Vusirikala, MD, professor of internal medicine in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center of UT Southwestern Medical Center, discusses the role of minimal residual disease (MRD) in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
Data have shown that allogeneic stem cell transplantation is the only potential cure for patients with ALL, regardless of MRD status, says Vusirikala. It is known that patients with MRD-negative disease have a better outcome with a transplant.
However, a subset of MRD-positive patients can experience improved outcomes or even cure from transplant, adds Vusirikala. Although patients with MRD positivity can still be taken to transplant, Vusirikala says it’s important to be cognizant that these patients have a high risk of relapse.
Performing a lymphocyte infusion or giving agents like blinatumomab (Blincyto) or inotuzumab ozogamicin (Besponsa) post-transplant may significantly reduce the risk of relapse for these patients, concludes Vusirikala.