Current information about clinical significance of IDH mutations in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), their association with other genetic alterations and the stability during disease progression is limited. In this study, IDH mutations were identified in 4.6% of 477 patients with MDS based on the FAB classification and in 2.2 % of 368 patients based on the 2008 WHO classification. IDH mutations were closely associated with older age, higher platelet counts, and mutations of DNMT3A (36.4% vs. 8.7%, P<0.001), ASXL1 (47.6% vs. 22.0%, P=0.007) and SRSF2 (45.5% vs. 11.8%, P<0.001). IDH2 mutation was a poor prognostic factor for overall survival in patients with lower-risk MDS, based on international prognosis scoring system (IPSS), FAB classification, WHO classification, or revised IPSS (all P<0.001), but not in higher-risk groups. Sequential studies in 151 patients demonstrated that all IDH-mutated patients retained the same mutation during disease evolution while none of the IDH-wild patients acquired a novel mutation during follow-ups. In conclusion, IDH mutation is a useful biomarker for risk stratification of patients with lower-risk MDS. IDH mutations are stable during the clinical course. The mutation, in association with other genetic alterations, may play a role in the development, but not progression of MDS.