Purpose: To determine whether shortening the infusion duration of high-dose methotrexate (HDMTX; 1 g/m2) affects the in vivo accumulation of active methotrexate polyglutamates (MTXPG1-7) in leukemia cells and whether this differs among major acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) subtypes. Methods: From June 2000 through October 2007, 356 children with ALL were randomly assigned to receive initial single-agent treatment with HDMTX (1 g/m2) as either a 24-hour infusion or a 4-hour infusion at two pediatric hospitals in the United States. The primary outcome measures were the accumulation of MTXPG1-7 in leukemia cells and the antileukemic effects (eg, inhibition of de novo purine synthesis in bone marrow ALL cells, and decrease in circulating ALL cells). Results: The 24-hour infusion resulted in significantly higher amounts of MTXPG1-7 in bone marrow leukemia cells (median: 1,695 v 1,150 pmol/109 cells, P = .0059), and better antileukemic effects. The 24-hour infusion had the greatest effect on MTXPG 1-7 accumulation in hyperdiploid ALL (median: 3,919 v 2,417 pmol/109 cells, P = .0038); T-cell ALL exhibited smaller differences in MTXPG1-7 but greater antileukemic effects with the longer infusion (median decrease in leukemia cells: 88.4% v 51.8%, P = .0075). In contrast, infusion duration had no significant impact on MTXPG1-7 accumulation or antileukemic effects in ALL with the t(12;21)/(ETV6-RUNX1) chromosomal translocation. Conclusion: Shortening the infusion time of HDMTX reduces accumulation of active methotrexate in leukemia cells and decreases antileukemic effects, with differing consequences among major ALL subtypes.