Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) is a clonal disorder of hematopoietic stem cells characterized by ineffective and inadequate hematopoiesis. Because MDS is a heterogeneous disorder, specific gene abnormalities implicated in the pathogenesis of MDS have been difficult to identify. Cytogenetic abnormalities are seen in half of the MDS patients and generally consist of partial or complete chromosome deletion or addition, whereas balanced translocations are rare. Although point mutations of critical genes had been demonstrated to contribute to the development of MDS, there was no strong correlation between these mutations and clinical features. Recently, we reported the high incidence of somatic mutations in the AML1/RUNX1 gene (which is a critical regulator of definitive hematopoiesis and the most frequent target for translocation of acute myeloid leukemia [AML]) in MDS, especially refractory anemia with excess blasts (RAEB), RAEB in transformation (RAEBt), and AML following MDS (defined here as MDS/AML). The MDS/AML patients with AML1 mutations had a significantly worse prognosis than those without AML1 mutations. Most AML1 mutants lose trans-activation potential, which leads to a loss of AML1 function. These data indicate that AML1 point mutation is one of the major causes of MDS/AML, and "MDS/AML with AML1 mutation" represents a distinct clinicopathologic-genetic entity.