Following its success in multiple myeloma (MM), proteasome inhibition has become a topic of interest as novel treatment strategy of cancer. By simultaneously affecting multiple pathways in the cancer cell, such as deregulation of the programmed degradation of many cellular proteins, proteasome inhibition causes rapid apoptosis of these cells. Both in rapidly proliferating leukaemic cell lines and in primary leukaemic cells isolated from patients, proteasome inhibition results in antileukaemic activity. The normal counterparts of these cells are much more resistant to proteasome inhibitors (PI), thereby resulting in a favourable therapeutic index. Importantly, while leukaemic stem cells are sensitive to proteasome inhibition, normal haematopoietic stem cells are still viable after drug exposure. Nowadays, many PIs are being identified; bortezomib is the most well known since obtaining Food and Drug Administration approval for clinical use in MM. This review summarises the biological and clinical aspects of proteasome inhibition and discusses the potential role of these inhibitors in the treatment of leukaemia.