Twenty-three patients who had myelofibrosis with myeloid metaplasia (MMM) were treated at our institution with 50 courses of splenic irradiation (SI) for symptomatic splenomegaly. The median dose of radiation per course was 277.5 cGy, administered in a median of 7.5 fractions. 8/23 patients received multiple courses of SI. Of 49 evaluable courses of SI, 46 (93.9%) resulted in an objective decrease in spleen size. The median duration of response was 6 months (range 1-41). Reduction in spleen size was associated with symptomatic relief in all patients. Overall median survival after SI was 22 months. Significant cytopenia occurred in 10 (43.5%) patients, or 16 (32%) of the 50 courses of SI. Prolonged, life-threatening pancytopenia after a single course of SI occurred in six patients (26%), resulting in fatal sepsis or haemorrhage in three (13%). Nine patients underwent subsequent splenectomy; the perioperative mortality rate was 11%. One third of patients experienced postoperative intra-abdominal haemorrhage necessitating surgical re-exploration. SI can provide symptomatic relief and a reduction in spleen size in most MMM patients. The increased risk of postoperative bleeding in patients requiring subsequent splenectomy dictates against considering SI as an alternative to splenectomy for patients who are otherwise good surgical candidates.