The Aurora kinases are essential for the regulation of chromosome segregation and cytokinesis during mitosis. Aberrant expression and activity of these kinases occur in a wide range of human tumors, and lead to aneuploidy and tumorigenesis. Here we report the discovery of a highly potent and selective small-molecule inhibitor of Aurora kinases, VX-680, that blocks cell-cycle progression and induces apoptosis in a diverse range of human tumor types. This compound causes profound inhibition of tumor growth in a variety of in vivo xenograft models, leading to regression of leukemia, colon and pancreatic tumors at well-tolerated doses. Our data indicate that Aurora kinase inhibition provides a new approach for the treatment of multiple human malignancies.