Mitotic kinases have integral roles in cell processes responsible for cancer development and progression in all tumor types and are common targets for therapeutics. However, a large subset of the human kinome remains unexplored with respect to functionality in cancer systems. Within the mitotic kinases, the never-in-mitosis kinase (NEK) family is emerging as novel kinase targets in various cancer types. NEK5 is an understudied member of the NEK family. While there are more recent studies describing the physiologic function of NEK5, its role in cancer biology remains widely understudied. However, emerging studies implicate that NEK5 has potentially crucial functions in various solid tumors. In this review, we discuss current knowledge regarding the role of NEK5 in cancer and the implications of NEK5 expression and activity in tumor development and metastasis. We summarize current studies that examine NEK5 activity in diverse cancer systems and cellular processes. As an understudied kinase, there are currently no selective NEK5-targeting agents to test the effects of pharmacologic inhibition on cancer, although there exist recent advancements in this area. Here we also include an update on efforts to develop selective pharmacologic inhibition of NEK5, and we discuss the current direction of NEK5-targeting therapeutic development. The generation of selective NEK5 inhibitors is promising new targeted therapies for cancer growth and metastasis.