To study the characteristics and clinical impact of therapy-related acute myeloid leukemia (t-AML). 200 patients (7.0%) had t-AML and 2653 de novo AML (93%). Patients with t-AML were older (P < .0001) and they had lower white blood counts (P = .003) compared with de novo AML patients; t-AML patients had abnormal cytogenetics more frequently, with overrepresentation of 11q23 translocations as well as adverse cytogenetics, including complex and monosomal karyotypes, and with underrepresentation of intermediate-risk karyotypes (P < .0001); t-AML patients had NPM1 mutations (P < .0001) and FLT3 internal tandem duplications (P = .0005) less frequently. Younger age at diagnosis of primary malignancy and treatment with intercalating agents as well as topoisomerase II inhibitors were associated with shorter latency periods to the occurrence of t-AML. In multivariable analyses, t-AML was an adverse prognostic factor for death in complete remission but not relapse in younger intensively treated patients (P < .0001 and P = .39, respectively), relapse but not death in complete remission in older, less intensively treated patients (P = .02 and P = .22, respectively) and overall survival in younger intensively treated patients (P = .01). In more intensively treated younger adults, treatment-related toxicity had a major negative impact on outcome, possibly reflecting cumulative toxicity of cancer treatment.