Decrease Patient Stress: Keep MRD in the Academic Setting

Minimal residual disease status could cause patients undue stress.

Telling a patient of their minimal residual disease (MRD) status, may cause unneeded anxiety, according to Barry A. Paul, MD, a physician at the Levine Cancer Institute, Atrium Health.

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In my opinion, MRD testing is best reserved for clinical trials or for academic medical centers because I don't want a patient walking around worrying that they're MRD positive and worrying for their disease to just come back and that they have a timer over their head, so to speak. Patients shouldn't live their lives that way. With the information that we have right now, we can't really justify them living that way just because they're MRD positive anyway.

With that in mind, I would be very very careful about the use in MRD because the way to interpret it is still very much up for debate. How we can impact upon an MRD-positive patient is very much up for debate, so I still think there's time before we can truly make a decision on that basis. I would be very careful about just checking for MRD, and I would be careful for patients asking to be checked for MRD, I suppose.