The aim of the present study was to investigate the influence of the nitric oxide synthase 3 (NOS3) 894 G>T polymorphism on prognostic outcomes of anthracycline in Chinese patients with de novo intermediate-risk acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) and to examine the gene expression level in relation to genetic variation. In all, 225 Chinese patients with intermediate-risk AML (at the complete remission stage) treated with anthracycline were enrolled in the study. The 894 G>T polymorphism of the NOS3 gene was analysed by allele-specific matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight. Expression of NOS3 mRNA was tested in 72 patients of known genotype for NOS3 894 G>T. The clinical characteristics of these patients were obtained from medical records. Survival analysis showed that patients with AML (GG genotype) had a longer overall survival (OS; P = 0.006). After adjusting for age, gender, leucocyte count, haemoglobin level, platelet level, French, American and Britain (FAB) classification, lactate dehydrogenase levels, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group Performance Status, nucleophosmin gene and fms-related tyrosine kinase 3 gene, multivariate survival analysis showed that the NOS3 894 G>T polymorphism appeared to be a predicting factor for OS (P = 0.014; hazard ratio = 1.856). However, no significant associations between the NOS3 894 G>T polymorphism and relapse-free survival and relapse in patients with AML were observed. Gene expression levels were significantly higher in patients with the GG genotype than in patients with the GT and TT genotypes (P = 0.033). The findings suggest that the NOS3 894 G>T variant may be a biomarker for the prediction of OS in Chinese patients with AML.