Iron overload due to red blood cell transfusions is associated with morbidity and mortality in lower-risk myelodysplastic syndrome patients. Many studies suggested improved survival after iron chelation therapy, but valid data are limited. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of iron chelation on overall survival and hematological improvement in lower-risk myelodysplastic syndrome patients in the European MDS registry. We compared chelated patients with a contemporary, non-chelated control group within the European MDS registry, that met the eligibility criteria for starting iron chelation. A Cox proportional hazards model was used to assess overall survival, treating receipt of chelation as a time-varying variable. Additionally, chelated and non-chelated patients were compared using a propensity-score matched model. Of 2200 patients, 224 received iron chelation. The hazard ratio and 95% confidence interval for overall survival for chelated patients, adjusted for age, sex, comorbidity, performance status, cumulative red blood cell transfusions, IPSS-R, and presence of ringed sideroblasts was 0.50 (0.34-0.74). The propensity-score analysis, matched for age, sex, country, red blood cell transfusion intensity, ferritin level, comorbidity, performance status, and IPSS-R and additionally corrected for cumulative red blood cell transfusions and presence of ringed sideroblasts, demonstrated a significantly improved overall survival for chelated patients with a hazard ratio of 0.42 (0.27-0.63) compared to non-chelated patients. Up to 39% of chelated patients reached an erythroid response. In conclusion, our results suggest that iron chelation may improve overall survival and hematopoiesis in transfused lower-risk myelodysplastic syndrome patients. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT00600860.