To assess the response rate and toxicity of the kinesin spindle protein (KSP) inhibitor, ispinesib, in malignant melanoma. Seventeen patients were enrolled from April to November 2005. Ispinesib was administered as a 1-hour infusion at a dose of 18 mg/m2 once every 3 weeks until disease progression. No objective responses were seen. Six patients (35%) had a best response of stable disease for a median duration of 2.8 months. Disease progression was documented in 9 (53%) after 1 or 2 cycles. Eighty-eight percent of patients received > or =90% of planned dose intensity. Grade 3 non-hematologic toxicities included dizziness (1) and blurred vision (1). There was one episode of febrile neutropenia, but no grade 3 or 4 biochemical adverse events. Pharmacokinetics was consistent with prior studies. KSP immunoreactivity was seen in 14 of 16 available archival tissue samples (88%). Ispinesib can be safely administered using the dose and schedule employed, with mild hematologic and non-hematologic toxicity. No objective responses were observed, and further development of single-agent ispinesib in malignant melanoma is not recommended. Although KSP expression appears to be common in melanoma, KSP may not be a suitable target for its treatment.