Oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) and colorectal cancer (CRC) are common types of human cancer. Spheroid colony formation is used to characterize cancer stem cell (CSCs). In the present study, we analyzed the significance of kinesin family 11 (KIF11 in human ESCC and CRC. Expression of KIF11 in 105 ESCC and 100 CRC cases was determined using immunohistochemistry. RNA interference was used to inhibit KIF11 expression in ESCC and CRC cell lines. In total, 61 out of 105 (58%) ESCC and 62 out of 100 (62%) CRC cases were positive for KIF11. Expression of KIF11 was not associated with any clinicopathological characteristics. Both the number and size of spheres produced by from TE-5 ESCC cells and DLD-1 CRC cells were significantly reduced upon KIF11 siRNA transfection compared to negative control siRNA transfection. These results indicate that KIF11 plays an important role in CSCs of ESCC and CRC.