Heat shock protein 47 (HSP47) is a 47 kDa collagen binding protein that has a close relationship with the development and progression of tumours. However, little is known concerning the expression profile of HSP47 in laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma (LSCC) patients and there is still insufficient data concerning the underlying mechanisms. The aim of the present study was to explore the expression of HSP47 in LSCC and provide an overview of its association with tumourigenicity and clinical prognosis. The expression of HSP47 in LSCC and adjacent non-cancerous laryngeal tissues was assessed via western blotting and immunohistochemical studies. The prognostic signiﬁcance of HSP47 expression was analysed using a Kaplan-Meier survival curve. To investigate the influence of HSP47 on the viability, invasion and apoptosis of a LSCC cell line, we performed an in vitro analysis with plasmid vectors and small interfering RNA (siRNA). Our results showed that HSP47 protein expression in the LSCC tissues was markedly decreased compared to that noted in the adjacent non-cancerous tissues, and low expression of HSP47 was correlated with poor prognosis in LSCC patients. Upregulation of HSP47 via plasmid vectors inhibited the proliferation, reduced the invasive ability, increased the sensitivity to cisplatin chemotherapy, promoted apoptosis, and induced the G1 phase arrest of LSCC cells in vitro. The expression of apoptosis-regulating proteins was also altered when HSP47 was upregulated, involving increased expression of cleaved caspase-7/-8/-9, PARP, and Bax and decreased expression of Bcl-2. Our present data suggest that HSP47 is an important prognostic factor and an attractive therapeutic target in LSCC due to its influence on the biological behaviour of LSCC cells.