Rearrangements of chromosome band 3q26.2 lead to overexpression of the EVI1 gene and are associated with a poor prognosis in myeloid malignancies. EVI1 is also overexpressed in some cases without 3q26 rearrangements. To uncover its prognostic significance in this patient group, however, it may be necessary to distinguish among several known 5′-end variants of its mRNA. According to a recent report, overexpression of the transcript variant EVI1_1d was associated with shortened survival in acute myeloid leukemia (AML), but overexpression of MDS1/EVI1, whose protein product differs structurally and functionally from that of all other known EVI1 5′-end variants, was not. The aim of the present study was to determine, for the first time, the expression and prognostic significance of all known EVI1 5′-end variants in AML. Quantitative RT-PCR was used to measure the expression of EVI1_1a, EVI1_1b, EVI1_1d, EVI1_3L, and MDS1/EVI1 in 266 samples from patients with de novo AML. To correlate expression of the EVI1 5′-end variants with survival parameters, regression analyses were performed. 41/266 patients (15.4%) overexpressed at least one, but more often several or all, EVI1 transcript type(s). High expression of each of the EVI1 mRNA variants, including MDS1/EVI1, was significantly associated with shortened continuous complete remission in the total patient population as well as in the subgroups of patients with intermediate risk or normal cytogenetics. The present study therefore shows that high levels of each of the known EVI1 mRNA 5′-end variants represents an adverse prognostic factor in de novo AML without 3q26 rearrangements. This article contains Supplementary Material available at http://www.interscience.wiley.com/jpages/1045-2257/suppmat.© 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.