Deregulation of mitotic spindle genes has been reported to contribute to the development and progression of malignant tumours. The aim of the present study was to explore the association between the expression profiles of Aurora kinases (AURKA, AURKB and AURKC), cytoskeleton-associated protein 5 (CKAP5), discs large-associated protein 5 (DLGAP5), kinesin-like protein 11 (KIF11), microtubule nucleation factor (TPX2), monopolar spindle 1 kinase (TTK), and β-tubulins (TUBB) and (TUBB3) genes and clinicopathological characteristics in human non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC). Reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction-based RNA gene expression profiles of 132 NSCLC and 44 adjacent wild-type tissues were generated, and Cox's proportional hazard regression was used to examine associations. With the exception of AURKC, all genes exhibited increased expression in NSCLC tissues. Of the 10 genes examined, only AURKA was significantly associated with prognosis in NSCLC. Multivariate Cox's regression analysis demonstrated that AURKA mRNA expression [hazard ratio (HR), 1.81; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.16-2.84; P=0.009], age (HR, 1.03; 95% CI, 1.00-1.06; P=0.020), pathological tumour stage 2 (HR, 2.43; 95% CI, 1.16-5.10; P=0.019) and involvement of distal nodes (pathological node stage 2) (HR, 3.14; 95% CI, 1.24-7.99; P=0.016) were independent predictors of poor prognosis in patients with NSCLC. Poor prognosis of patients with increased AURKA expression suggests that those patients may benefit from surrogate therapy with AURKA inhibitors.