The value of intensive therapy, including autologous stem cell transplantation, in newly diagnosed myeloma patients >60 years is not clear. We evaluated the impact of age (<60 years vs. 60-64 years) on survival in a prospective, population-based setting and compared survival with conventionally treated historic controls. The prospective population comprised 452 patients registered between 1998 and 2000. Of these, 414 received intensive therapy. The historic population, derived from our most recent population-based study on conventional therapy, comprised 281 patients. Of these, 243 fulfilled our eligibility criteria for intensive therapy. For patients undergoing intensive therapy it was found that two factors, beta-2-microglobulin and age <60 years vs. 60-64 years, had independent prognostic impact on survival. However, compared with the historic controls a survival advantage was found both for patients <60 (median 66 months vs. 43 months, P < 0.001) and 60-64 years (median 50 months vs. 27 months; P = 0.001). We conclude that in a population-based setting higher age adversely influences outcome after intensive therapy. Our results indicate that intensive therapy prolongs survival also at age 60-64 years but with less superiority than in younger patients.