Aurora kinases play critical roles in chromosome segregation and cell division. They are implicated in the centrosome cycle, spindle assembly, chromosome condensation, microtubule-kinetochore attachment, the spindle checkpoint and cytokinesis. Aurora kinases are regulated through phosphorylation, the binding of specific partners and ubiquitin-dependent proteolysis. Several Aurora substrates have been identified and their roles are being elucidated. The deregulation of Aurora kinases impairs spindle assembly, checkpoint function and cell division, causing missegregation of individual chromosomes or polyploidization accompanied by centrosome amplification. Aurora kinases are frequently overexpressed in cancers and the identification of Aurora A as a cancer-susceptibility gene provides a strong link between mitotic errors and carcinogenesis.