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Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most deadly human cancers because of its high incidence of metastasis. Despite extensive efforts, therapies against metastasis of HCC remain underdeveloped. Vacuole membrane protein 1 (Vmp1) was recently identified to be involved in cancer-relevant processes; however, its expression, clinical significance and biological function in HCC progression are still unknown. Therefore, we evaluated the expression of Vmp1 in human HCC specimens. To functionally characterize Vmp1 in HCC, we upregulated its expression in HCCLM3 cells using a plasmid transfection approach, following which both in vitro and in vivo models were used to elucidate its role. A significant downregulation of Vmp1 was found in human HCC tissues and closely correlated with multiple tumor nodes, absence of capsular formation, vein invasion and poor prognosis of HCC. Such expression was verified with HCC cell lines including HepG2, MHCC97-L and HCCLM3, and the Vmp1 expression levels negatively correlated with metastatic potential. Interestingly, upregulation of Vmp1 significantly affects proliferation, migration, invasion and adhesion of HCCLM3 cells. Using a mouse model, we demonstrated that upregulation of Vmp1 was associated with suppression of growth and pulmonary metastases of HCC. Therefore, our data suggest Vmp1 is a novel prognostic marker and potential therapeutic target for metastasis of HCC.