Cluster of differentiation 14 (CD14) protein functions as a co-receptor with either the Toll-like receptor TLR4 or MD-2 in the detection of bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and plays a role in the innate immune system. Recently, it was shown to have effects on the regulation of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Thus, the present study investigated the effects of CD14 knockdown on the regulation of gastric cancer cell EMT and invasive capacity following treatment with or without LPS. Knockdown of CD14 expression using CD14 shRNA in MGC-803 cells significantly enhanced E-cadherin expression, but reduced N-cadherin and vimentin expression in both LPS-treated and untreated cells. Morphologically, the phenotype of LPS-treated CD14-knockdown cells was altered to a sporadic long spindle shape. Moreover, TNF-α-treated cells were further elongated, connections between cells were reduced, the gap between the cells was increased and the cells were transformed into mesenchymal cells. Furthermore, the invasive capacity of CD14-knockdown cells was significantly lower compared to that of the negative control shRNA-transfected MGC-803 cells. LPS-treated CD14-knockdown cells had significantly lower levels of tumor cell invasive ability when compared to the LPS-treated parental MGC-803 cells. However, addition of TNF-α to LPS-treated CD14-knockdown cells significantly increased tumor cell invasion. This study demonstrated that CD14 promoted tumor cell EMT and invasion through TNF-α, whereas knockdown of CD14 expression inhibited gastric cancer cell invasion and EMT.