To modulate in vitro cytarabine (ara-C) resistance we combined ara-C with six potential resistance modifiers in 10 paediatric acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) patient samples (methyl thiazol tetrazolium assay). Drug interactions were determined by median drug effect analysis. Co-incubation of ara-C/aphidicolin showed strong synergism. The combinations of ara-C/cladribine and ara-C/gemcitabine were synergistic. Nearly additive and moderately synergistic interactions were observed between ara-C/flavopiridol and ara-C/UCN-01. The combination of ara-C/decitabine was antagonistic. In conclusion, favourable interactions were observed between ara-C and aphidicolin, cladribine, gemcitabine and also with flavopiridol and UCN-01, supporting the evaluation of these combinations in clinical trials with AML patients.