Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a frequently occurring malignant disease of the blood and may result from a variety of genetic disorders. The present study aimed to identify the underlying mechanisms associated with the therapeutic effects of decitabine and cytarabine on AML, using microarray analysis. The microarray datasets GSE40442 and GSE40870 were downloaded from the Gene Expression Omnibus database. Differentially expressed genes (DEGs) and differentially methylated sites were identified in AML cells treated with decitabine compared with those treated with cytarabine via the Linear Models for Microarray Data package, following data pre‑processing. Gene Ontology (GO) analysis of DEGs was performed using the Database for Annotation, Visualization and Integrated Analysis Discovery. Genes corresponding to the differentially methylated sites were obtained using the annotation package of the methylation microarray platform. The overlapping genes were identified, which exhibited the opposite variation trend between gene expression and DNA methylation. Important transcription factor (TF)‑gene pairs were screened out, and a regulated network subsequently constructed. A total of 190 DEGs and 540 differentially methylated sites were identified in AML cells treated with decitabine compared with those treated with cytarabine. A total of 36 GO terms of DEGs were enriched, including nucleosomes, protein‑DNA complexes and the nucleosome assembly. The 540 differentially methylated sites were located on 240 genes, including the acid‑repeat containing protein (ACRC) gene that was additionally differentially expressed. In addition, 60 TF pairs and overlapped methylated sites, and 140 TF‑pairs and DEGs were screened out. The regulated network included 68 nodes and 140 TF‑gene pairs. The present study identified various genes including ACRC and proliferating cell nuclear antigen, in addition to various TFs, including TATA‑box binding protein associated factor 1 and CCCTC‑binding factor, which may be potential therapeutic targets of AML.