Purpose: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of arsenic trioxide monotherapy in patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). Patients and Methods: Patients received arsenic trioxide (0.25 mg/kg/d) on 5 consecutive days per week for 2 weeks, followed by 2 weeks' rest (one cycle). Two patient cohorts were established according to International Prognostic Scoring System risk category: lower-risk (low or intermediate-1) or higher-risk MDS (intermediate-2 or high). For lower-risk MDS, hematologic improvement (HI) was the primary response end point. For higher-risk MDS, additional end points included complete or partial remission. Based on the expected time to response, patients receiving two or more cycles were prospectively evaluated. Results: Hematologic adverse events included neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, and febrile neutropenia. Two patients died during the study due to treatment-related toxicities. Most common grade 3/4 nonhematologic events were pneumonia, fatigue, hemorrhage, pain, and dyspnea. Among patients who received one or more doses (n = 70) or completed two or more cycles (n = 51), the HI rates were 34% and 39% in lower-risk patients, and 6% and 9% in higher-risk patients, respectively; the overall major HI rates were 20% and 22%. One higher-risk patient achieved a complete remission (3%). Major HIs were observed in all hematologic lineages; erythroid responses were the most common. Transfusion independence or reduction by ≥ 50% occurred in 33% of patients dependent on RBC transfusions. The overall median duration of HI was 6.8 months (range, 2 to 40 months). Conclusion: Arsenic trioxide monotherapy has moderate activity against MDS, with a manageable adverse effect profile. The further study of arsenic trioxide in MDS, particularly in combination with other agents, is warranted. © 2006 by American Society of Clinical Oncology.