Primary cilia are microtubule-based sensory organelles that coordinate signalling pathways in cell-cycle control, migration, differentiation and other cellular processes critical during development and for tissue homeostasis. Accordingly, defects in assembly or function of primary cilia lead to a plethora of developmental disorders and pathological conditions now known as ciliopathies. In this review, we summarize the current status of the role of primary cilia in coordinating receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) signalling pathways. Further, we present potential mechanisms of signalling crosstalk and networking in the primary cilium and discuss how defects in ciliary RTK signalling are linked to human diseases and disorders. Copyright © 2011 Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.