What does it mean when my doctor says I have had a partial response to a drug treatment?

For each drug, doctors have a set of criteria they use to measure a complete response, also called a full response. This criteria differs depending on the specific drug being used and the disease being treated.

For patients with bone marrow failure diseases, a complete response is typically blood counts that improve and remain at or near normal after treatment. For patients being treated for MDS, this might also include no blast cells in the blood and a normal number of blasts cells in the bone marrow.

A partial response is less than a full response and better than no response. It typically includes blood counts that are at least halfway between where they started and normal.

Ask your doctor for the criteria he or she has used to define a “full response” and a “partial response” to the treatment you have been given.