MicroRNAs have been implicated in regulating diverse cellular pathways. Emerging evidence indicate that the miR-17-92 cluster may have a causal role in breast cancer tumorigenesis as a novel class of oncogenes, but the role of these miRNAs in breast cancer invasion and migration remains unexplored. The aims of this study were to verify the effect of miR-17-5p (an important member of the miR-17-92 cluster) on the invasive and migratory ability of breast cancer cells. The matching of miR-17-5p and HMG box-containing protein 1 (HBP1) was predicted by TargetScan and confirmed by DNA constructs and luciferase target assay. The expression levels of miR-17-5p and its candidate target-HBP1 in MCF7 and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells were measured by real-time PCR and western blotting. Effects of miR-17-5p in cell cycle progression, proliferation, invasion and migration were evaluated by flow cytometry assay, 3-(4,-dimethy -lthiazol-2-yl)-2,-diphenyl -tetrazoliumbromide assay, soft-agar colony formation assay, and transwell invasive and migratory assay, respectively. The results showed that miR-17-5p was highly expressed in high-invasive MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells but not in low-invasive MCF-7 breast cancer cells. Over-expression of miR-17-5p in MCF-7 cells rendered them the invasive and migratory abilities by targeting HBP1/β-catenin pathway. On the other hand, down-regulation of endogenous miR-17-5p suppressed the migration and invasion of MDA-MB-231 cells in vitro. These findings suggest that miR-17-5p plays an important role in breast cancer cell invasion and migration by suppressing HBP1 and subsequent activation of Wnt/β-catenin.