To describe the clinical and biologic features of pediatric acute megakaryoblastic leukemia (AMKL) and to identify prognostic factors, experience at St Jude Children's Research Hospital was reviewed. Of 281 patients with acute myeloid leukemia treated over a 14-year period, 41 (14.6%) had a diagnosis of AMKL. Six patients had Down syndrome and AMKL, 6 had secondary AMKL, and 29 had de novo AMKL. The median age of the 22 boys and 19 girls was 23.9 months (range, 6.7-208.9 months). The rate of remission induction was 60.5%, with a 48% rate of subsequent relapse. Patients with Down syndrome had a significantly higher 2-year event-free survival (EFS) estimate (83%) than did other patients with de novo AMKL (14%) or with secondary AMKL (20%;P ≤ .038). Among patients who had de novo AMKL without Down syndrome, 2-year EFS was significantly higher after allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (26%) than after chemotherapy alone (0%;P = .019) and significantly higher when performed during remission (46%) than when performed during persistent disease (0%;P = .019). The 5-year survival estimates were significantly lower for de novo AMKL (10%) than for other forms of de novo AML (42%; P < .001). Treatment outcome is very poor for patients with AMKL in the absence of Down syndrome. Remission induction is the most important prognostic factor. Allogeneic transplantation during remission offers the best chance of cure; in the absence of remission, transplantation offers no advantage over chemotherapy alone.