Malignant transformation results in abnormal cell cycle regulation and uncontrolled growth in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) and other cancers. S100A8/A9 (calprotectin) is a calcium-binding heterodimeric protein complex implicated in cell cycle regulation, but the specific mechanism and role in cell cycle control and carcinoma growth are not well understood. In HNSCC, S100A8/A9 is downregulated at both mRNA and protein levels. We now report that downregulation of S100A8/A9 correlates strongly with a loss of cell cycle control and increased growth of carcinoma cells. To show its role in carcinogenesis in an in vitro model, S100A8/A9 was stably expressed in an S100A8/A9-negative human carcinoma cell line (KB cells, HeLa-like). S100A8/A9 expression increases PP2A phosphatase activity and p-Chk1 (Ser345) phosphorylation, which appears to signal inhibitory phosphorylation of mitotic p-Cdc25C (Ser216) and p-Cdc2 (Thr14/Tyr15) to inactivate the G2/M Cdc2/cyclin B1 complex. Cyclin B1 expression then downregulates and the cell cycle arrests at the G2/M checkpoint, reducing cell division. As expected, S100A8/A9-expressing cells show both decreased anchorage-dependent and -independent growth and mitotic progression. Using shRNA, silencing of S100A8/A9 expression in the TR146 human HNSCC cell line increases growth and survival and reduces Cdc2 inhibitory phosphorylation at Thr14/Tyr15. The level of S100A8/A9 endogenous expression correlates strongly with the reduced p-Cdc2 (Thr14/Tyr14) level in HNSCC cell lines, SCC-58, OSCC-3 and UMSCC-17B. S100A8/A9-mediated control of the G2/M cell cycle checkpoint is, therefore, a likely suppressive mechanism in human squamous cell carcinomas and may suggest new therapeutic approaches.