Background: Elderly patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) generally have an unfavorable clinical course and are under-represented in clinical trials. The aim of this study was to analyze the prognosis and treatment outcome of elderly AML patients. Patients and methods: We studied 205 AML patients aged 65 years or older at our hospital. Prior to study initiation, we designated 13 variables to be analyzed for their impact on complete remission (CR) rate and overall survival (OS). Results: Induction regimen (standard chemotherapy) and good performance status (PS) (Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group PS 0-1) independently influenced the achievement of CR. Multivariate analysis also determined five poor prognostic factors for OS: poor PS (score 2-4), presence of comorbidities, elevated serum lactate dehydrogenase level (≥2× upper normal limit), extreme leukocytosis (≥100 × 109 /l) and marked thrombocytopenia (≤20 × 109/l). Age was not an independent contributing factor in terms of either CR attainment or OS duration. Low-risk patients, who possessed one or less non-leukocytosis poor prognostic factor, had significantly longer disease-free survival and OS than their high-risk counterparts. Conclusions: Elderly AML patients should be risk-stratified at diagnosis. Anthracycline-based induction chemotherapy would be the best therapeutic option for such patients.