Our recent studies of microRNA (miRNA) expression signatures demonstrated that microRNA-1291 (miR-1291) was significantly downregulated in renal cell carcinoma (RCC) clinical specimens and was a putative tumor-suppressive miRNA in RCC. The aim of the present study was to investigate the functional significance of miR-1291 in cancer cells and to identify novel miR-1291-mediated cancer pathways and target genes in RCC. Expression of miR-1291 was significantly downregulated in RCC tissues compared with adjacent non-cancerous tissues. Restoration of mature miR-1291 in RCC cell lines (A498 and 786-O) revealed significant inhibition of cell proliferation, migration and invasion, suggesting that miR-1291 functioned as a tumor suppressor. To identify miR-1291-mediated molecular pathways and targets, we used gene expression analysis (expression of RCC clinical specimens and miR-1291-transfected A498 cells) and in silico database analysis. Our data demonstrated that 79 signaling pathways were significantly regulated by tumor-suppressive miR-1291 in RCC cells. Moreover, solute career family 2 member 1 (SLC2A1) was a candidate target of miR-1291 regulation. The SLC2A1 gene provides instructions for producing glucose transporter protein type 1 (GLUT1). Luciferase reporter assays showed that miR-1291 directly regulated SLC2A1/GLUT1. In RCC clinical specimens, the expression of SLC2A1/GLUT1 mRNA was significantly higher in cancer tissues than in non-cancerous tissues. A significant inverse correlation was recognized between SLC2A1/GLUT1 and miR-1291 expression (r = −0.55, P < 0.0001). Loss of tumor-suppressive miR-1291 enhanced RCC cell proliferation, migration and invasion through targeting SLC2A1/GLUT1. The identification of novel tumor-suppressive miR-1291-mediated molecular pathways and targets has provided new insights into RCC oncogenesis and metastasis.