MicroRNA-34a(miR-34a), a pivotal member of the p53 network, was found to be down-regulated in multiple types of tumors and further reported as a tumor suppressor microRNA. However, the profile and biological effects of miR-34a in breast cancer are still unclear. In this study, we aimed to determine the effect of miR-34a on the growth of breast cancer and to investigate whether its effect is achieved by targeting Bcl-2 and SIRT1. We examined miR-34a levels in breast cancer cell lines and breast cancer specimens by qRT-PCR. Proliferation assay, apoptosis assay, and morphological monitoring were performed to assess the tumor suppression effect of miR-34a in breast cancer cell lines. Western blotting was used to identify the targets of miR-34a. We also investigated the anti-tumor effects of the treatment combining miR-34a with 5-FU in breast cancer cells. We found that miR-34a expression was down-regulated in 5 breast cancer cell lines compared with the immortalized normal mammary epithelial cell line 184A1, and was also down-regulated by almost 50 % in breast cancer samples compared with their corresponding adjacent non-malignant breast tissues. Ectopic restoration of miR-34a in breast cancer cells suppressed cells proliferation, invasion, and induced apoptosis. Bcl-2 and SIRT1 as the targets of miR-34a were found to be in reverse correlation with ectopic expression of miR-34a. Furthermore, the treatment combining miR-34a with 5-FU significantly showed more efficient anti-tumor effects than single treatment of miR-34a or 5-FU. Since miR-34a functions as tumor suppressor microRNA in breast cancer, modulating miR-34a level in breast cancer was suggested to be a new and useful approach of breast cancer therapy.