Studies suggest that smaller hippocampal volume predicts Alzheimer's disease (AD) in mild cognitive impairment (MCI). However, few studies have demonstrated decline rates in cognition and hippocampal volume in MCI subjects with stable clinical presentation. Furthermore, the effects of apolipoprotein E (ApoE) on the change rates of medial temporal structures and cognition in MCI are rarely investigated. Fifty-eight subjects with amnestic MCI and 20 normal aging elderly controls received annual neuropsychological and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) assessments. Annual decline rates in neuropsychological test scores, hippocampal and amygdalar volumes were calculated. ApoE genotypes were examined. Nineteen (32.7%) MCI subjects converted to AD during an average 22.5-month follow-up period. The annual hippocampal atrophy rate was correlated with a decline in memory test scores. The presence of the ApoE varepsilon4 allele did not affect the change rates in neuropsychological test scores and medial temporal structures volume. Compared to subjects with stable MCI (MCI-S) and normal aging, progressive MCI (MCI-P) had the highest annual decline rates in cognition and hippocampal volume. Logistic regression analysis showed that higher annual decline rates in hippocampal volume and global cognitive test scores were associated with conversion to AD. Furthermore, although MCI-S subjects had little cognitive decline, their hippocampal atrophy rates were higher than those of normal aging controls. Therefore, accelerated hippocampal atrophy rates may be an early and important presentation in MCI subjects.