Light chain (AL) amyloidosis is caused by a small B-cell clone producing light chains that form amyloid deposits and cause organ dysfunction. Chemotherapy aims at suppressing the production of the toxic light chain (LC) and restore organ function. However, even complete hematologic response (CR), defined as negative serum and urine immunofixation and normalized free LC ratio, does not always translate into organ response. Next-generation flow (NGF) cytometry is used to detect minimal residual disease (MRD) in multiple myeloma. We evaluated MRD by NGF in 92 AL amyloidosis patients in CR. Fifty-four percent had persistent MRD (median 0.03% abnormal plasma cells). There were no differences in baseline clinical variables in patients with or without detectable MRD. Undetectable MRD was associated with higher rates of renal (90% vs 62%, p = 0.006) and cardiac response (95% vs 75%, p = 0.023). Hematologic progression was more frequent in MRD positive (0 vs 25% at 1 year, p = 0.001). Altogether, NGF can detect MRD in approximately half the AL amyloidosis patients in CR, and persistent MRD can explain persistent organ dysfunction. Thus, this study supports testing MRD in CR patients, especially if not accompanied by organ response. In case MRD persists, further treatment could be considered, carefully balancing residual organ damage, patient frailty, and possible toxicity.
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