Pim oncogenes are overexpressed in a wide range of tumours from a haematological and epithelial origin. Pim genes encode serine/threonine kinases that have been shown to counteract the increased sensitivity to apoptosis induction that is associated with MYC-driven tumorigenesis. Recently, considerable progress has been made in characterizing the pathways of PIM-mediated survival signalling. Given the unique structure of their active site and the minimal phenotype of mice mutant for all Pim family members, these oncogenes might be promising targets for highly specific and selective drugs with favourable toxicity profiles. In this Review, we discuss the physiological functions and oncogenic activities of Pim kinases.