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Absent in melanoma 2 (AIM2) as a tumor suppressor is recently recognized to play an important role in many human solid tumors. However, the biological significance and function of AIM2 in renal cell carcinoma (RCC) remain unknown. In this study, we proposed to investigate the clinicopathological and prognostic significance of AIM2 in RCC patient specimens, to analyze the correlation between AIM2 expression and disease progression, and to further investigate the role and mechanism of AIM2 in malignant behaviors of renal carcinoma by cellular and animal models. The correlation analysis showed that low AIM2 expression was significantly correlated with lymph node metastasis, poor 5-year overall (P < 0.05) and disease-specific survival (P < 0.05) in RCC patients. Over-expression of AIM2 in 786-O or OSRC-2 cells suppressed the cell proliferation, migration and invasion as compared with control. The increased AIM2 expression enhanced the expression of autophagy-related genes (Bcl-2, Beclin-1, LC3-II, and ATG-5) and increased the ratio of LC3-II/LC3-I in renal carcinoma cells. Of note, the blockade of autophagy by 3-Methyladenine (3-MA) abrogated the inhibition of cell migration and invasion by over-expressing AIM2, indicated that AIM2 suppressed the malignant behaviors of renal carcinoma by enhancing the induction of autophagy. Furthermore, 3-MA abolished the prevention of tumor growth on nude mouse established by AIM2-OSRC-2 cells. Our results suggested that AIM2 might serve as a novel prognostic indicator as well as a potential therapeutic target for renal carcinoma treatment.Low AIM2 expression was correlated with RCC patient survival.AIM2 suppressed the proliferation, migration and invasion of renal cancer cells.AIM2 enhanced the expression of autophagy-related genes.AIM2 exerts the anti-tumor effect via enhancing the induction of autophagy.