The retinoid-responsive gene CXXC5 localizes to the 5q31.2 chromosomal region and encodes a retinoid-inducible nuclear factor (RINF) that seems important during normal myelopoiesis. We investigated CXXC5/RINF expression in primary human acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells derived from 594 patients, and a wide variation in CXXC5/RINF mRNA levels was observed both in the immature leukemic myeloblasts and in immature acute lymphoblastic leukemia cells. Furthermore, patients with low-risk cytogenetic abnormalities showed significantly lower levels compared to patients with high-risk abnormalities, and high RINF/CXXC5/ mRNA levels were associated with decreased overall survival for patients receiving intensive chemotherapy for newly diagnosed AML. This association with prognosis was seen both when investigating (i) an unselected patient population as well as for patients with (ii) normal cytogenetic and (iii) core-binding factor AML. CXXC5/RINF knockdown in AML cell lines caused increased susceptibility to chemotherapy-induced apoptosis, and regulation of apoptosis also seemed to differ between primary human AML cells with high and low RINF expression. The association with adverse prognosis together with the antiapoptotic effect of CXXC5/RINF suggests that targeting of CXXC5/RINF should be considered as a possible therapeutic strategy, especially in high-risk patients who show increased expression in AML cells compared with normal hematopoietic cells.