MicroRNA 144 (miR-144), a small non-coding RNA, is frequently dysregulated in human several tumour progression,but its role and the underlying mechanisms in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is poorly investigated. In thepresent study, the expression of miR-144 was firstly analysed in datasets derived from GSE21362 and TCGA, andthen detected in HCC tissues and cell lines by quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR) analysis. MiR-144 was shown to besignificantly down-regulated in HCC tissues and cell lines. Subsequently, overexpression of miR-144 was transfectedinto HCC cell lines so as to investigate its biological function, including MTT, colony formation, and transwell assays.Gain of function assay revealed miR-144 remarkably inhibited cell proliferation, migration and invasion. In addition,bioinformatical analysis and luciferase reporter assay identified ZFX as a novel target of miR-144 in HCC cells, asconfirmed by qRT-PCR and Western blot. Furthermore, ZFX was found to be significantly up-regulated usingOncomine database analysis. Loss of function assay further indicated knockdown of ZFX had similar effects ofmiR-144-mediated HCC cell proliferation and invasion. Therefore, miR-144 has been demonstrated to act as a tumoursuppressor in HCC cell growth and motility by directly targeting ZFX, which implicates its potential applications inthe development of HCC treatment.