A significant body of literature has been generated related to the detection of measurable residual disease (MRD) at the time of achieving complete remission (CR) in patients with hairy cell leukemia (HCL). However, due to the indolent nature of the disease as well as reports suggesting long-term survival in patients treated with a single course of a nucleoside analog albeit without evidence of cure, the merits of detection of MRD and attempts to eradicate it have been debated. Studies utilizing novel strategies in the relapse setting have demonstrated the utility of achieving CR with undetectable MRD (uMRD) in prolonging the duration of remission. Several assays including immunohistochemical analysis of bone marrow specimens, multi-parameter flow cytometry and molecular assays to detect the mutant BRAF V600E gene or the consensus primer for the immunoglobulin heavy chain gene (IGH) rearrangement have been utilized with few comparative studies. Here we provide a consensus report on the available data, the potential merits of MRD assessment in the front-line and relapse settings and recommendations on future role of MRD assessment in HCL.
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