Remitting seronegative symmetrical synovitis with pitting oedema (RS3PE) may be the inaugural manifestation of different rheumatic diseases of the elderly, malignancies and myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). Relapsing polychondritis (RP) is a rare systemic disorder characterised by an inflammatory process involving predominantly cartilaginous structures, the cardiovascular system and organs of special sense. We report on a 72-year-old man with RS3PE and MDS, refractory anaemia subtype, diagnosed at the same time as RS3PE. Several months later the patient presented a clinical and pathological picture compatible with RP. Although the association between RP and MDS is well known, no previous cases of RS3PE preceding RP have been reported. This case confirms that RS3PE may herald many diseases, among others autoimmune disorders such as RP.