MRI can help to categorize tissues as malignant or non-malignant both anatomically and functionally, with a high level of spatial and temporal resolution. This non-invasive imaging modality has been integrated with radiotherapy in devices that can differentially target the most aggressive and resistant regions of tumours. The past decade has seen the clinical deployment of treatment devices that combine imaging with targeted irradiation, making the aspiration of integrated MRI-guided radiotherapy (MRIgRT) a reality. The two main clinical drivers for the adoption of MRIgRT are the ability to image anatomical changes that occur before and during treatment in order to adapt the treatment approach, and to image and target the biological features of each tumour. Using motion management and biological targeting, the radiation dose delivered to the tumour can be adjusted during treatment to improve the probability of tumour control, while simultaneously reducing the radiation delivered to non-malignant tissues, thereby reducing the risk of treatment-related toxicities. The benefits of this approach are expected to increase survival and quality of life. In this Review, we describe the current state of MRIgRT, and the opportunities and challenges of this new radiotherapy approach.