Oncogenic fusion genes that involve kinases have proven to be effective targets for therapy in a wide range of cancers. Unfortunately, the diagnostic approaches required to identify these events are struggling to keep pace with the diverse array of genetic alterations that occur in cancer. Diagnostic screening in solid tumours is particularly challenging, as many fusion genes occur with a low frequency. To overcome these limitations, we developed a capture enrichment strategy to enable high-throughput transcript sequencing of the human kinome. This approach provides a global overview of kinase fusion events, irrespective of the identity of the fusion partner. To demonstrate the utility of this system, we profiled 100 non-small cell lung cancers and identified numerous genetic alterations impacting fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (FGFR3) in lung squamous cell carcinoma and a novel ALK fusion partner in lung adenocarcinoma. © 2013 The Authors. Journal of Pathology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland.