We have analysed the haematological parameters in 21 patients with Shwachman-Diamond syndrome (SDS) seen over a 25-year period at our institution. Neutropenia, although present in all patients, was intermittent in two-thirds, constant in the rest and was associated with impaired chemotaxis in all of those patients tested. Fetal haemoglobin (HbF) was elevated in 80% of the patients at some stage, and anaemia and thrombocytopenia was documented in 66% and 24% respectively. Bone marrow samples were taken in over half of the patients. Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) developed in seven (33%) patients, five of whom had acquired clonal structural chromosome abnormalities in their bone marrows. In five of the patients with MDS (24%) transformation to acute myeloid leukaemia occurred. Like other constitutional bone marrow failure syndromes, SDS has a predilection to leukaemic transformation hitherto assumed to be in the region of 5–10%. The data presented here suggest that this figure probably represents an underestimate. Shwachman-Diamond syndrome is an interesting model of leukaemia development and greater understanding of the clinical spectrum of this rare disorder should produce further insights into its pathobiology.