Sodium metaarsenite (NaAs2O3: code name KML001) is an orally bioavailable arsenic compound with potential anti-cancer activity. However, the effect of KML001 has not been studied in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). We investigated the anti-leukemic effect of KML001 in AML, and determined the mode of action of KML001. KML001 inhibited the cellular proliferation in all AML cell lines and primary AML blasts as well as HL-60R (cytosine arabinoside-resistant HL-60) cells, while As2O3 was not effective in primary AML blasts and AML cell lines including HL-60R cells. KML001 induced G1 arrest and apoptosis in HL-60 and HL-60R cells. KML001 inhibited the activation of STAT (signal transducer and activator of transcription) 1, 3, 5, NF-κB, AKT and PI3K, while phosphorylated PTEN was upregulated. In addition, activation of ERK, p38 and JNK was observed in KML001-induced growth inhibition of HL-60 and HL-60R cells. Furthermore, KML001 induced telomeric terminal restriction fragment (TRF) length shortening in a time-dependent manner in HL-60 and HL-60R cells. Real‑time PCR with RNA extracted from KML001-treated HL-60 and HL-60R cells showed a significant reduction of catalytic subunit of telomerase, hTERT, in a time-dependent manner. Additionally, γ-H2AX, a sensitive molecular marker of DNA damage, in HL-60 and HL-60R cells was induced by KML001. These results suggest that KML001 inhibits the proliferation of AML cells including cytosine arabinoside-resistant AML cells via various mechanisms such as cell cycle arrest, induction of apoptosis, inhibition of JAK/STAT and PI3K pathways, activation of MAPK pathway and telomere targeting.