DEAD (Asp-Glu-Ala-Asp) box helicase 5 (DDX5) is an ATP-dependent RNA helicase that is overexpressed in various malignancies. Increasing evidence suggests that DDX5 participates in carcinogenesis and cancer progression via promoting cell proliferation and metastasis. However, the functional role of DDX5 in gastric cancer is largely unknown. In this study, we observed that DDX5 was significantly up-regulated in gastric cancer tissues compared with the paired adjacent normal tissues. The expression of DDX5 correlated strongly with Ki67 index and pathological stage of gastric cancer. In vitro and in vivo studies suggested that knockdown of DDX5 inhibited gastric cancer cell proliferation, colony formation and xenografts growth, whereas ectopic expression of DDX5 promoted these cellular functions. Mechanically, DDX5 induced gastric cancer cell growth by activating mTOR/S6K1. Treatment of everolimus, the specific mTOR inhibitor, significantly attenuated DDX5-mediated cell proliferation. Interestingly, the expression of DDX5 and p-mTOR in gastric cancer tissues demonstrated a positive correlation. Taken together, these results revealed a novel role of DDX5 in gastric cancer cell proliferation via the mTOR pathway. Therefore, DDX5 may serve as a therapeutic target in gastric cancer.