Polyamines are organic cations shown to control gene expression at the transcriptional, posttranscriptional, and translational levels. Multiple cellular oncogenic pathways are involved in regulation of transcription and translation of polyamine-metabolizing enzymes. As a consequence of genetic alterations, expression levels and activities of polyamine-metabolizing enzymes change rapidly during tumorigenesis resulting in high levels of polyamines in many human epithelial tumors. This review summarizes the mechanisms of polyamine regulation by canonical tumor suppressor genes and oncogenes, as well as the role of eukaryotic initiation factor 5A (EIF5A) in cancer. The importance of research utilizing pharmaceutical inhibitors and cancer chemopreventive strategies targeting the polyamine pathway is also discussed.