NEK6 (NIMA-related kinase 6) is a homologue of the Aspergillus nidulans protein NIMA (never in mitosis, gene A). We demonstrate that overexpression of NEK6 induces anchorage-independent transformation of JB6 Cl41 mouse epidermal cells. Tissue arrays and Western immunoblot analysis show that NEK6 is overexpressed in malignant tissues and several cancer cell lines. Our data also show that NEK6 interacts with STAT3, an oncogenic transcription factor, and phosphorylates STAT3 on Ser727, which is important for transcriptional activation. Additional studies using NEK6 mutants suggested that the phosphorylation on both Ser206 and Thr210 of NEK6 is critical for STAT3 phosphorylation and anchorage-independent transformation of mouse epidermal cells. Notably, knockdown of NEK6 decreased colony formation and STAT3 Ser727 phosphorylation. Based on our findings, the most likely mechanism that can account for this biological effect involves the activation of STAT3 through the phosphorylation on Ser727. Because of the critical role that STAT3 plays in mediating oncogenesis, the stimulatory effects of NEK6 on STAT3 and cell transformation suggest that this family of serine/threonine kinases might represent a novel chemotherapeutic target.