Flow cytometric immunophenotyping is recommended for diagnosis, classification and monitoring of disease in monoclonal gammopathies. Furthermore, it is a useful diagnostic tool for clinical practice and has various applications, such as its ability to distinguish between normal, reactive and malignant plasma cells, to evaluate the risk of progression from monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance to plasma cell myeloma, to provide prognostic information, to evaluate the presence of minimal residual disease and to identify new therapeutic targets. The incorporation of novel therapies in the management of patients diagnosed with plasma cell neoplasms has increased depth and frequency of response, as well as prolonged progression free and overall survival. Along with these improvements in therapeutic strategies, definition of responses to treatment has evolved over time. It was therefore necessary to develop reproducible and sensitive assays for detection and monitoring of minimal residual disease and to define its prognostic value in predicting progression free and overall survival, to allow for consolidation and maintenance therapeutic strategies and to evaluate the efficacy of novel therapies.

(BELG J HEMATOL 2015;6(2):46–53)