Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are clonal hematopoietic disorders of the elderly that carry an increased risk of progression to acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Since small non-coding RNAs (sRNAs), including microRNA (miRNAs), act as regulators of cellular differentiation, we hypothesized that changes to sRNAs might be implicated in the progression of MDS to AML. We conducted sRNA sequencing on three sets of patients: Group A (MDS patients who never progressed to AML); Group B (MDS patients who later progressed to an AML); and Group C (AML patients with myelodysplasia-related changes, including patients with a known preceding diagnosis of MDS). We identified five miRNAs that differentiated Groups A and B, independent of bone marrow blast percentage, including three members of the miR-181 family, as well as differential patterns of miRNA isoforms (isomiRs) and tDRs. Thus, we have identified sRNA biomarkers that predict MDS cases that are likely to progress to AML.