Treatment-related acute myeloid leukaemia (t-AML) is a devastating complication following exposure to the cytotoxic and genotoxic agents used to treat a primary malignancy. Whilst the incidence of t-AML is rising, it still only occurs in a minority of patients who have received chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy treatment and hence it is important to identify factors that may confer susceptibility to the development of the condition. This paper reviews the literature and discusses the advances and limitations in our understanding of susceptibility factors to t-AML. In particular, it concentrates upon genetic polymorphisms in detoxification genes and in genes belonging to the major DNA repair pathways. This review also considers more novel susceptibility factors, such as those proposed to determine stem cell number. Increased understanding of t-AML susceptibility may enable steps to be taken to prevent its development and increase the effectiveness of treatment of the disease.