The biological role of interleukin-37 (IL-37) in cancer is large unknown. Through immunohistochemical detection using 163 primary hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) clinical specimens, we found the expression of IL-37 was decreased in tumor tissues, and the expression level was negatively correlated with tumor size. High expression of IL-37 in HCC tumor tissues was associated with better overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS). IL-37 expression in tumor tissues was positively associated with the density of tumor-infiltrating CD57+ natural killer (NK) cells, but not with the CD3+ and CD8+ T cells. Consistently, in vitro chemotaxis analysis showed that IL-37- overexpressing HCC cells could recruit more NK cells. The in vivo mouse model experiments also revealed that overexpression IL-37 in HCC cells significantly delayed tumor growth and recruited more NK cells into tumors tissues. Our finding suggested that IL-37 might play an important role for the prognosis of HCC patients via regulating innate immune-action.