The Aurora (Ipl) kinase family plays important roles in the regulation of mitosis and tumorigenesis. The tumor suppressor RASSF1A controls mitotic progression by regulating anaphase-promoting complex (APC)-Cdc20 activity and microtubule stability, but the mechanism by which this action is regulated has not been previously established. Here, we show that Aurora A and B associate with and phosphorylate RASSF1A on serine 203 in vivo at different times and in different subcellular compartments during mitosis. Notably, both depletion of Aurora A by UNA interference and expression of a nonphosphorylatable KASSF1A (S203A) mutant gene led to a marked delay in prometaphase progression. This is likely because of the failure of RASSF1A to dissociate from Cdc20, constitutive inhibition of APC-Cdc20, and accumulation of mitotic cyclins. In contrast, the delay in prometaphase progression caused by Aurora A depletion was largely normalized by phosphomimetic RASSF1A (S203D). Finally, BASSF1A phosphorylation on serine 203 was up- regulated in Aurora A-overexpressing human tumors. These findings indicate that Aurora A plays a critical role in RASSFlA-APC-Cdc20 regulatory mechanisms that control normal prometaphase progression and that are involved in tumorigenesis.