CD147 is reported to be correlated with the malignancy of some cancers, and its overexpression affects the progression of tumor. In the present study, we investigated the function of HAb18G/CD147, a member of CD147 family, on hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) adhesion, invasion and metastasis in 3-dimensional (3-D) cell co-culture model. The results showed that the extracellular microenvironment could determine the cellular phenotypes and then affected the cellular functions. The expressions of HAb18G/CD147 in HCC cells and fibroblasts were both obviously elevated in 3-D co-culture model. The overexpression of HAb18G/CD147 increased MMPs' (MMP-2 and MMP-9) production (P < 0.01), and was obviously accompanied with enhanced expressions of paxillin, FAK and p-FAK in 3-D cell co-culture model. All the results suggest that HAb18G/CD147 plays an important role in HCC adhesion, invasion and metastasis mainly via modulating synthesis of MMPs and activating integrin signal pathways in fibroblasts and tumor cells themselves under the 3-D co-culture conditions.