Microtubule end-binding protein 1 (EB1) is an evolutionarily conserved protein that regulates microtubule dynamics and participates in diverse cell activities. Here, we demonstrate that EB1 expression is up-regulated in human breast cancer specimens and cell lines. The level of EB1 correlates with clinicopathological parameters indicating the malignancy of breast cancer, including higher histological grade, higher pathological tumour node metastasis (pTNM) stage, and higher incidence of lymph node metastasis. Knockdown of EB1 expression remarkably inhibits cancer cell proliferation, and conversely, elevation of its expression promotes cell proliferation. Our data further show that EB1 promotes colony formation and enhances tumour growth in nude mice. In addition, EB1 stimulates Aurora-B activity in breast cancer cells, and EB1 expression correlates with increased Aurora-B activity in clinical samples of breast cancer. These findings thus suggest an oncogenic role for EB1 in breast cancer. Copyright 2009 Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.