Somatic mutations of the RNA splicing machinery have been recently identified in myelodysplastic syndromes. In particular, a strong association has been found between SF3B1 mutation and refractory anemia with ring sideroblasts, a condition characterized by ineffective erythropoiesis and parenchymal iron overload. We studied the relationship between SF3B1 mutation, erythroid activity and hepcidin levels in myelodysplastic syndrome patients. Erythroid activity was evaluated through the proportion of marrow erythroblasts, soluble transferrin receptor and serum growth differentiation factor 15. Significant relationships were found between SF3B1 mutation and marrow erythroblasts (P=0.001), soluble transferrin receptor (P=0.003) and serum growth differentiation factor 15 (P=0.033). Serum hepcidin varied considerably, and multivariable analysis showed that the hepcidin to ferritin ratio, a measure of adequacy of hepcidin levels relative to body iron stores, was inversely related to the SF3B1 mutation (P=0.013). These observations suggest that patients with SF3B1 mutation have inappropriately low hepcidin levels, which may explain their propensity to parenchymal iron loading.