To define paediatric AML patients with a favourable outcome in order to design a risk-adapted therapy, we analysed 489 children under 17 years of age treated similarly in studies AML-BFM 83 and 87. 369 patients (75.4%) achieved remission. Estimated probabilities of survival, event-free survival (EFS) and disease-free survival (DFS) at 5 years were 50% (SE 2%), 43% (SE 2%) and 58% (SE 3%), respectively. Multivariate analysis revealed bone marrow blasts on day 15, morphologically defined risk groups and hyperleucocytosis to be of prognostic value. EFS at 5 years estimated for patients with 5% and >5% blasts on day 15 were 56% (SE 3%) v 27% (SE 4%); for the favourable morphological subgroups (M1/M2 with Auer rods, M3 and M4eo) it was 60% (SE 4%) compared with other patients (33%, SE 3%), P (Kaplan-Meier) = 0.0001 each. Hyperleucocytosis proved to be an independent prognostic factor, indicating a high risk, especially for early failure. The specific karyotypes t(8;21), t(15;17) and inv16 were closely related to the favourable morphology and outcome was in the same range. We conclude that for the definition of a standard-risk group a combination of morphological and response criteria may be sufficient. The standard-risk group defined by favourable morphology and a blast cell reduction on day 15 (not required for M3) comprises 31% of all patients, P survival, pEFS and pDFS at 5 years were 73% (SE 4%), 68% (SE 5%) and 76% (SE 4%), respectively.