Nucleophosmin 1 (NPM1) is an oligomeric, nucleolar phosphoprotein that functions as a molecular chaperone for both proteins and nucleic acids. NPM1 is mutated in approximately one-third of patients with AML. The mutant NPM1c+ contains a 4-base insert that results in extra C-terminal residues encoding a nuclear export signal, which causes NPM1c+ to be localized in the cytoplasm. Here, we determined the effects of targeting NPM1 in cultured and primary AML cells. Treatment with siRNA to NPM1 induced p53 and p21, decreased the percentage of cells in S-phase of the cell cycle, as well as induced differentiation of the AML OCI-AML3 cells that express both NPMc+ and unmutated NPM1. Notably, knockdown of NPM1 by shRNA abolished lethal AML phenotype induced by OCI-AML3 cells in NOD/SCID mice. Knockdown of NPM1 also sensitized OCI-AML3 to all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) and cytarabine. Inhibition of NPM1 oligomerization by NSC348884 induced apoptosis and sensitized OCI-AML3 and primary AML cells expressing NPM1c+ to ATRA. This effect was significantly less in AML cells coexpressing FLT3-ITD, or in AML or normal CD34+ progenitor cells expressing wild-type NPM1. Thus, attenuating levels or oligomerization of NPM1 selectively induces apoptosis and sensitizes NPM1c+ expressing AML cells to treatment with ATRA and cytarabine.