PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in older persons remains a tremendous clinical challenge. AML in older patients is more often associated with biologically unfavorable features, and these patients are less likely to tolerate or accept intensive therapy. There have not been substantial improvements in outcome for this group of patients despite decades of research. In this review, we summarize the most substantial contributions in the past 2 years. RECENT FINDINGS: There have been three major research themes in the recently published literature for older patients with AML: methods to predict response to therapy, models to predict toxicity of therapy in older, less-fit patients, and investigation of novel agents for AML patients with either newly diagnosed or relapsed disease. An unexpected recent finding has been the observation that complete remission in this disease may not necessarily translate into an overall survival advantage, and conversely, survival benefit has been demonstrated without any improvement in complete remission. SUMMARY: Although anthracycline and cytarabine-based therapy remains the standard of care for older patients with AML, this option remains suboptimal for the vast majority of patients. We argue for a national research agenda that may help to accelerate progress for older people with AML.