BACKGROUND We explored the expression pattern, prognostic potential, and functional role of microRNA-588 (miR-588) in human breast cancer (BC). MATERIAL AND METHODS The expression pattern of miR-588 was assessed by qPCR in BC cell lines and human BC carcinomas. The correlations between miR-588 and BC patients' clinicopathological characteristics, as well as BC patients' overall survival, were statistically assessed. In in vitro culture, MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells were infected with lentivirus to overexpress endogenous miR-588. The subsequent effects of miR-588 upregulation on BC cell proliferation and cisplatin chemosensitivity were examined. RESULTS miR-588 was found to be significantly downregulated in both BC cell lines and carcinoma tissues of BC patients. Low expression of miR-588 was closely correlated with BC patients' poor prognosis of TNM stage, lymph node metastasis, and estrogen receptor status. In addition, patients with low miR-588-expressing carcinomas had much shorter overall survival. In MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells, lentiviral infection induced significant miR-588 upregulation, and miR-588 upregulation had an anti-tumor effect in BC cells by significantly inhibiting cancer proliferation and increasing cisplatin chemosensitivity. CONCLUSIONS miR-588 is downregulated in BC and its aberrant expression is closely associated with patients' poor prognosis and overall survival, thus suggesting a biomarker role. miR-588 also has anti-tumor function in BC, making it a potential therapeutic target for BC treatment.