We sought to study whether survival after haploidentical transplantation is comparable to that after matched unrelated donor transplantation for 822 patients aged 50-75 years with acute myeloid leukemia in first or second complete remission. One hundred and ninetytwo patients received grafts from haploidentical donors (sibling 25%; offspring 75%) and 631 patients from matched unrelated donors aged 18-40 years. Patients' and disease characteristics of the two groups were similar except that recipients of matched unrelated donor transplantation were more likely to have poor risk cytogenetics and more likely to receive myeloablative conditioning regimens. Time from documented remission to transplant did not differ by donor type. Five-year overall survival was 32% and 42% after haploidentical and matched unrelated donor transplant, respectively (P=0.04). Multivariable analysis showed higher mortality (hazard ratio 1.27, P=0.04) and relapse (hazard ratio 1.32, P=0.04) after haploidentical transplantation, with similar non-relapse mortality risks. Chronic graft-versus-host disease was higher after matched unrelated donor compared to haploidentical transplantation when bone marrow was the graft (hazard ratio 3.12, P<0.001), but when the graft was peripheral blood, there was no difference in the risk of chronic graft-versus-host disease between donor types. These data support the view that matched unrelated donor transplant with donors younger than 40 years is to be preferred.