Minimal residual disease

14 February 2011
Minimal residual disease (MRD) is the term used to describe the presence of residual cancer cells, when there are so few present that they cannot be detected by routine means.

Tests have been developed that enable doctors to measure MRD, and it has been shown in children with leukaemia that MRD levels are an important predictor of relapse. MRD measurement has now been incorporated as part of the standard treatment regime for children with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL): children with high levels of MRD are given more intensive treatment to prevent relapse.

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