PURPOSE: This study compared outcomes in children with acute leukemia who underwent transplantations with umbilical cord blood (UCB), bone marrow, or peripheral blood stem cells from a human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-matched related donor (MRD) or an unrelated donor (URD). METHODS: This retrospective study included consecutive acute leukemia patients who underwent their first allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) at Samsung Medical Center between 2005 and 2010. Patients received stem cells from MRD (n=33), URD (n=46), or UCB (n=41). RESULTS: Neutrophil and platelet recovery were significantly longer after HSCT with UCB than with MRD or URD (P<0.01 for both). In multivariate analysis using the MRD group as a reference, the URD group had a significantly higher risk of grade III to IV acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD; relative risk [RR], 15.2; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.2 to 186.2; P=0.03) and extensive chronic GVHD (RR, 6.9; 95% CI, 1.9 to 25.2; P<0.01). For all 3 donor types, 5-year event-free survival (EFS) and overall survival were similar. Extensive chronic GVHD was associated with fewer relapses (RR, 0.1; 95% CI, 0.04 to 0.6; P<0.01). Multivariate analysis showed that lower EFS was associated with advanced disease at transplantation (RR, 3.2; 95% CI, 1.3 to 7.8; P<0.01) and total body irradiation (RR, 2.1; 95% CI, 1.0 to 4.3; P=0.04). CONCLUSION: Survival after UCB transplantation was similar to survival after MRD and URD transplantation. For patients lacking an HLA matched donor, the use of UCB is a suitable alternative.