This trial explored the efficacy of re-induction chemotherapy including bortezomib in paediatric relapsed/refractory acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. Patients were randomized 1:1 to bortezomib (1.3 mg/m2/dose) administered early or late to a dexamethasone and vincristine backbone. Both groups did not differ regarding peripheral blast count on day 8, the primary endpoint. After cycle 1, 8 of 25 (32%) patients achieved complete remission with incomplete blood count recovery, 7 (28%) a partial remission and 10 had treatment failure. Most common grade 3–4 toxicities were febrile neutropenia (31%) and pain (17%). Bortezomib was safely combined with vincristine. Bortezomib rarely penetrated the cerebrospinal fluid.