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Therapy-related acute myeloid leukemia and myelodysplastic syndrome (t-AML/MDS) represent severe late effects in patients receiving hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) for lymphoma. The choice between high-dose therapy with autologous HCT and allogeneic HCT with reduced-intensity conditioning remains controversial in patients with relapsed lymphoma. We retrospectively analyzed incidence and risk factors for the development of t-AML/MDS in lymphoma patients treated with autologous or allogeneic HCT. A total of 13 810 lymphoma patients who received autologous (n = 9963) or allogeneic (n = 3847) HCT between 1985 and 2012 were considered. At a median overall survival (OS) of 52 and 46 months in autologous and allogeneic HCT groups, respectively, lymphoma patients receiving autologous HCT (1.38% at 3 years after autologous HCT) had a significant risk for developing t-AML/MDS compared to allogeneic HCT (0.37% at 3 years after allogeneic HCT, P<0.001). Significant risk factors for the development of t-AML/MDS after autologous and allogeneic HCT were high-stage risk at HCT (P = 0.04) or secondary malignancies (P<0.001) and receiving cord blood stem cell (P = 0.03) or involved field radiotherapy (P = 0.002), respectively. Strategies that carefully select lymphoma patients for autologous HCT, by excluding lymphoma patients with high-stage risk at HCT, may allow the identification of individual lymphoma patients at particular high risk for t-AML/MDS.