The expression of microRNA-203 (miR-203) in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) tissues is remarkably lower than that in non‑ESCC tissues. We investigated how miR-203 could influence the development of ESCC cells. Our analyses revealed that miR-203 inhibited the migration and invasion of ESCC cells. Genome-wide gene expression data and target site inhibition assays showed that miR-203 appears to directly regulate LIM and SH3 protein 1 (LASP1). The knockdown of LASP1 resulted in inhibition of the migration and invasion of ESCC cells. Our results suggest that miR-203 and its target LASP1, may be associated with the progression of ESCC. In clinical ESCC specimens, the expression levels of miR-203, which were lower compared to those in normal tissues, were inversely correlated with the mRNA expression levels of LASP1. Moreover, we found that there was a significant correlation between the expression levels of miR-203 and the relapse‑free survival. The identification of a cancer network regulated by miR-203 could provide new insights into the potential mechanisms of the progression of ESCC.