Cyclin E-Cdk2 has long been considered an essential and master regulator of progression through G1 phase of the cell cycle. Although recent mouse models have prompted a rethinking of cyclin E function in mammals, it remains clear that cyclin E impacts upon many processes central to cell division. Normal cells maintain strict control of cyclin E activity, and this is commonly disrupted in cancer cells. Moreover, cyclin E deregulation is thought to play a fundamental role in tumorigenesis. In this review, we discuss the regulation and functions of cyclin E in normal and neoplastic mammalian cells.