Splicing of pre-mRNAs is a crucial step in the gene expression pathway. Disruption of splicing has been linked to the pathogenesis of several human diseases and is particularly widespread in cancer. Recently, a number of mutations affecting genes of the core spliceosome machinery have been identified in haematological malignancies, yet the effect of such mutations on RNA splicing is unclear. A better understanding of how mis-splicing contributes to malignancies may provide diagnostic or prognostic information and new drug targets for therapeutic approaches. Copyright © 2014 Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.