Eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4A (eIF4A) is a highly conserved DEAD-box RNA helicase in eukaryotes with ATPase and RNA helicase activities. eIF4A plays an important role in capdependent translation at the initiation of mRNA translation, and carcinoma signal transduction pathways are focused on cap-dependent translation. eIF4A is highly expressed in a variety of cancers, and its high expression is associated with the degree of leukemia progression. Therefore, eIF4A, as a target for tumor therapy, has become a hot research topic. Many small-molecule inhibitors targeting eIF4A have been demonstrated in preclinical cancer model trials. The purpose of this review is to describe the function of eIF4A and the development of eIF4A targeting inhibitors.