This week isn't about the chemo but more about a big Tuesday appointment where Kate will move
from a PICC line
to a PORT
as well as get an Bone Marrow Biopsy / MRD Test.
What is an MRD Test?
Measurable or minimal residual disease (MRD) testing is used to see if the cancer treatment is working and to guide further treatment plans. MRD testing is mainly used in blood cancers (leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma), but is being studied in other cancers. It is a type of personalized medicine, because the results can be used to tailor your treatment plan.
What can the MRD test find?
This test can find even the smallest amount of cancer cells that may be remaining after treatment. This can:
- Show how well your cancer has responded to the treatment you received.
- Do a better job of finding out if you are in remission than other tests.
- Find a cancer recurrence sooner than other tests.
MRD tests use highly sensitive methods, including multi-parametric flow cytometry and polymerase chain reaction (PCR). These methods look for any remaining cancer cells that cannot be seen in routine tests. This test can detect even 1 cancer cell among 1 million normal cells.
MRD testing is also useful in clinical trials for new medicines. MRD can show how well the medicine is working at treating the cancer without having to wait months to see if the cancer returns.
MRD and ALL
- Part of routine testing in the treatment of pediatric and most adult ALL.
- Can detect relapse earlier than other tests. This allows for earlier treatment if relapse is suspected.
- Studies show that MRD is the best way to predict what treatments will be most helpful after the induction phase ALL treatment.
- MRD can also help identify patients most at risk for ALL relapse. These patients may have the best chance for a cure with a bone marrow transplant. Patients with good MRD response may be able to avoid transplant.