One of the most frequent allelic deletions in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has been found at chromosome 8p21-23. We reported here the identification and characterization of a novel gene for a hepatocellular carcinoma related protein 1 (HCRP1) localized at 8p22, which was isolated by positional candidate cloning. The expression of the gene for HCRP1 was most abundant in normal human liver tissue and significantly reduced or undetected in HCC tissues. The analysis of subcellular distribution showed that HCRP1 diffused in the cytoplasm with a significant fraction accumulated in the nuclei. After introduction of the sense and antisense cDNA of HCRP1 into HCC cell line SMMC-7721, we observed that the overexpression of HCRP1 significantly inhibited both anchorage-dependent and anchorage-independent cell growth in vitro. Using the transgenic short hairpin RNA (shRNA) to knock down the expression of HCRP1 gene in the other HCC cell line BEL-7404 resulted in the cell growth greatly enhanced. Moreover, reduction of the HCRP1 gene expression could also elevate the invasive ability of BEL-7404 cells. Our results strongly suggest that HCRP1 might be a growth inhibitory protein and associated with decreasing the invasion of HCC cells.