Twenty-nine patients aged 62-82 years with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) were treated with a 21-day course of continuous infusion cytarabine, oral hydroxyurea, and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (calcitriol). Ten patients had an antecedent myelodysplastic syndrome. Calcitriol was continued as the only postremission therapy. Thirteen patients (45%) obtained a complete remission, and 10 patients (34%) had a partial response for an overall 79% response rate. There were three early deaths. The median remission duration was 9.8 months. Overall median survival was 12 months for all patients and 14 months for responding patients. All responding patients had marked bone marrow hypoplasia. Twenty patients received part or all of their chemotherapy as outpatients. This regimen has acceptable toxicity and can result in prolonged remissions in elderly, high-risk patients with AML. The favorable results may be related to the synergistic effect of hydroxyurea, cytarabine, and calcitriol.