Enhancer of zeste homologue 2 (EZH2), a member of the polycomb group protein family, plays a crucial role in the regulation of embryonic development and has been associated with the regulation of the cell cycle. Recently, several studies have shown that EZH2 is highly expressed in aggressive tumours, including human breast cancer, prostate cancer, and lymphomas. We thus analysed EZH2 expression using real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, and correlated its expression status with various clinicopathological parameters in 66 patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We found high expression of EZH2 in human liver cancer cell lines. Furthermore, EZH2 gene-expression levels in tumour tissue specimens (0.34+/-0.52) were significantly higher (P<0.0001) than those in the corresponding nontumour tissue specimens (0.07+/-0.09). The incidence of cancer cell invasion into the portal vein was significantly higher (P<0.001) in the high EZH2 expression group (26 of the 33, 79%) than in the low expression group (13 of the 33, 39%). However, there was no significant difference in the disease-free survival rate between the two groups. The findings of this study indicate that EZH2 mRNA expression was upregulated in human HCC and may play an important role in tumour progression, especially by facilitating portal vein invasion.