Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a heterogeneous disease with outcomes dependent upon several factors, including patient age, karyotype, mutational status, and comorbid conditions. For younger patients, approximately 60% to 80% achieve complete remission with standard therapy involving cytarabine and an anthracycline. However, only 20% to 30% have long-term disease-free survival. For adults older than 60 years of age, only 40% to 55% achieve a complete remission, with dismal long-term survival rates. Unfortunately, the median age at diagnosis for AML is 70 years. Significant advances in our understanding of the molecular biology of AML have led to newer therapies that specifically target molecular abnormalities. Examples of such therapies include the immunoconjugate gemtuzumab ozogamicin, FMS-like tyrosine kinase 3 inhibitors, farnesyl transferase inhibitors, histone deacetylase inhibitors, DNA hypomethylating agents, multidrug-resistance inhibitors, BCL-2 inhibitors, antiangiogenesis agents, and various nucleoside analogs. This review summarizes the standard treatments for AML and discusses the role of novel therapies.