hDIS3 is a mainly nuclear, catalytic subunit of the human exosome complex, containing exonucleolytic (RNB) and endonucleolytic (PIN) active domains. Mutations in hDIS3 have been found in ∼10% of patients with multiple myeloma (MM). Here, we show that these mutations interfere with hDIS3 exonucleolytic activity. Yeast harboring corresponding mutations in DIS3 show growth inhibition and changes in nuclear RNA metabolism typical for exosome dysfunction. Construction of a conditional DIS3 knockout in the chicken DT40 cell line revealed that DIS3 is essential for cell survival, indicating that its function cannot be replaced by other exosome-associated nucleases: hDIS3L and hRRP6. Moreover, HEK293-derived cells, in which depletion of endogenous wild-type hDIS3 was complemented with exogenously expressed MM hDIS3 mutants, proliferate at a slower rate and exhibit aberrant RNA metabolism. Importantly, MM mutations are synthetically lethal with the hDIS3 PIN domain catalytic mutation both in yeast and human cells. Since mutations in PIN domain alone have little effect on cell physiology, our results predict the hDIS3 PIN domain as a potential drug target for MM patients with hDIS3 mutations. It is an interesting example of intramolecular synthetic lethality with putative therapeutic potential in humans.