FTO, an mRNA N6-methyladenosine (m6A) demethylase, was reported to promote leukemogenesis. Using structure-based rational design, we have developed two promising FTO inhibitors, namely FB23 and FB23-2, which directly bind to FTO and selectively inhibit FTO's m6A demethylase activity. Mimicking FTO depletion, FB23-2 dramatically suppresses proliferation and promotes the differentiation/apoptosis of human acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cell line cells and primary blast AML cells in vitro. Moreover, FB23-2 significantly inhibits the progression of human AML cell lines and primary cells in xeno-transplanted mice. Collectively, our data suggest that FTO is a druggable target and that targeting FTO by small-molecule inhibitors holds potential to treat AML.