Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a malignant blood disorder and the cure rate has been remarkably improved over the past decade. However, recurrent or refractory leukemia remains the major problem of the AML and no clearly effective therapy has been established so far. Traditional treatments such as chemotherapy and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation are both far dissatisfying the patients partly for their individual variety. Besides, conventional treatments usually have many side effects to result in poor prognosis. Therefore, an urgent need is necessary to update therapies of AML. To date, protein kinase inhibitors as new drugs offer hope for AML treatment and many of them are on clinical trials. Here, this review will provide a brief summary of protein kinase inhibitors investigated in AML thus far, mainly including tyrosine protein kinase inhibitors and serine/threonine kinase inhibitors. We also presented the sketch of signal pathways involving protein kinase inhibitors, as well as discussed the clinical applications and the challenges of inhibitors in AML treatment.