The aim of this study is to evaluate (1) the human telomerase-specific reverse transcriptase (hTERT) mRNA expression in childhood acute leukemia, (2) the association between the hTERT mRNA expression with the patients' characteristics and the known prognostic factors and (3) the correlation of the patients' survival with the initial hTERT mRNA value at diagnosis. A total of 40 newly diagnosed patients consist of children [31 cases with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and 9 cases with acute myeloblastic leukemia (AML)] were prospectively included into the study. The online real-time reverse-transcriptase PCR was used for the quantification of hTERT in bone marrow (BM). All cases were re-evaluated for their survival after 2 years. The highest hTERT mRNA value was observed in Pre B-cell ALL patients followed by B-cell ALL, T-cell ALL and AML. The hTERT mRNA relative ratio difference between the ALL and AML groups was significant. No significant association was found when hTERT mRNA expression was evaluated in relation with the hematological parameters (except hemoglobin level), blast percentages and the risk groups. No significant difference was determined between the rate of complete remission and relapse of cases with the hTERT mRNA values in all malignancy groups. Patients who had higher initial hTERT mRNA values showed significantly longer disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS) in ALL (P = 0.000 and 0.01, respectively). Although DFS and OS was longer in AML patients with lower initial hTERT mRNA, the difference was not significant. In conclusion, the hTERT mRNA expression values were not significantly associated with the known prognostic factors in children both with ALL and AML. hTERT mRNA value is a significant factor for childhood ALL at diagnosis in relation to the estimated survival.