Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are a group of heterogeneous clonal hematopoietic stem cell disorders characterized by ineffective hematopoiesis, peripheral blood cytopenias and a propensity to transform into acute myeloid leukemia. There are few treatment options available for patients with MDS. Studies into the molecular biology of MDS have demonstrated abnormal patterns of DNA methylation that lead to silencing of tumor-suppressor genes. Hypomethylating agents are compounds that have the potential to reverse the aberrant DNA methylation and increase the expression of silenced genes, leading to cellular differentiation and/or apoptosis. Decitabine is a cytidine analogue that has activity as a hypomethylating agent and has been evaluated in the therapy of patients with high-risk MDS. Several studies have confirmed the clinical activity of low-dose decitabine in patients with high-risk MDS, leading to responses in approximately 50% of patients, with low treatment-related mortality. Responses have even been seen in patients with high-risk cytogenetic abnormalities, and some studies have demonstrated increased re-expression of genes that were previously silenced by hypermethylation, such as CDKN2B/p15INK4B. There are still some issues concerning the ideal dose and schedule of decitabine for treating patients with MDS. This article focuses on the most recent clinical studies of decitabine for therapy of MDS.