Some patients still have MDS cells in their bone marrow after treatment. This is called refractory MDS. Some patients have a return of MDS cells in the marrow and a decrease in normal blood cells after remission. This is called a relapse.
Refractory MDS is typically treated with a different treatment than the first therapy used. Clinical trials are under way to study more treatments for refractory MDS.
Relapsed MDS is typically treated with either the same treatment used before or a different standard treatment.
Vaccine therapy and donor lymphocyte infusions are being studied in clinical trials to treat MDS (and other blood cancer) patients with relapsed disease following allogeneic stem cell transplantation.