Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are a heterogeneous group of diseases characterized by ineffective haematopoiesis and cytopenias in peripheral blood. Transformation into acute myeloid leukaemia is a common complication of MDS. Life expectancy varies between nearly normal and early death. MDS were an important issue at last year’s annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology. Like in the years before, the majority of contributions dealt with preclinical aspects. In addition to that, several interesting clinical studies regarding diagnosis and treatment were presented.