Biomark Res. 2021 Oct 14;9(1):75. doi: 10.1186/s40364-021-00328-2.
Multiple myeloma (MM) is a treatable plasma cell cancer with no cure. Clinical evidence shows that the status of minimal residual disease (MRD) after treatment is an independent prognostic factor of MM. MRD indicates the depth of post-therapeutic remission. In this review article, we outlined the major clinical trials that have determined the prognostic value of MRD in MM. We also reviewed different methods that were used for MM MRD assessment. Most important, we reviewed our current understanding of MM MRD biology. MRD studies strongly indicate that MRD is not a uniform declination of whole MM tumor population. Rather, MM MRD exhibits unique signatures of cytogenetic aberration and gene expression profiles, unlike those of MM cells before therapy. Diagnostic high-risk MM and low-risk MM exhibited a diversity of MRD features. Clonal evaluation may occur at the MRD stage in MM. The dynamics from the diagnostic MM to MRD correlate with the disease prognosis. Lastly, on the aspect of omics, we performed data-based analysis to address the biological features underlying the course of diagnostic-to-MRD MM. To summarize, the MRD stage of disease represents a critical step in MM pathogenesis and progression. Demonstration of MM MRD biology should help us to deal with the curative difficulties.