Treatment for childhood acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) consists of remission induction chemotherapy followed by postremission chemotherapy with or without bone marrow transplantation. The AML Berlin-Frankfurt-Munster (BFM)-83 protocol with induction-consolidation-maintenance chemotherapy for 2 years has been reported to result in a 6-year event-free survival (EFS) and event-free interval (EFI) of 49% and 61% respectively. A total of 174 Malaysian children were treated with this protocol between 1985 and 1999. The 5-year EFS and EFI was 30.7% and 48.0% respectively. The overall mortality from sepsis was 24%, which needs urgent address. The 5-year EFS for patients treated before 1993 and after 1993 was 18.6% and 41.3%, respectively (P = 0.04), while the EFI was 32% and 60.6% respectively (P = 0.034). The improvement seen after 1993 was related to a reduction in induction deaths for that period and probably reflected increased capability and familiarity to cope with the demands of the AML-BFM-83 protocol and accompanying complications in the treatment of AML.