Combination of flow cytometry and functional imaging for monitoring of residual disease in myeloma

L. Rasche, D. Alapat, M. Kumar, G. Gershner, J. McDonald, C. P. Wardell, R. Samant, R. Van Hemert, J. Epstein, A. F. Williams, S. Thanendrarajan, C. Schinke, M. Bauer, C. Ashby, R. G. Tytarenko, F. van Rhee, B. A. Walker, M. Zangari, B. Barlogie, F. E. DaviesG. J. Morgan, N. Weinhold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


The iliac crest is the sampling site for minimal residual disease (MRD) monitoring in multiple myeloma (MM). However, the disease distribution is often heterogeneous, and imaging can be used to complement MRD detection at a single site. We have investigated patients in complete remission (CR) during first-line or salvage therapy for whom MRD flow cytometry and the two imaging modalities positron emission tomography (PET) and diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DW-MRI) were performed at the onset of CR. Residual focal lesions (FLs), detectable in 24% of first-line patients, were associated with short progression-free survival (PFS), with DW-MRI detecting disease in more patients. In some patients, FLs were only PET positive, indicating that the two approaches are complementary. Combining MRD and imaging improved prediction of outcome, with double-negative and double-positive features defining groups with excellent and dismal PFS, respectively. FLs were a rare event (12%) in first-line MRD-negative CR patients. In contrast, patients achieving an MRD-negative CR during salvage therapy frequently had FLs (50%). Multi-region sequencing and imaging in an MRD-negative patient showed persistence of spatially separated clones. In conclusion, we show that DW-MRI is a promising tool for monitoring residual disease that complements PET and should be combined with MRD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1713-1722
Number of pages10
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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