Circular RNAs (circRNAs) are associated with cancer progression and metastasis, although little is known about their role in lung adenocarcinoma (LAC). In the present study, microarrays were first used to screen for tumour-specific circRNA candidates in LAC tissue. Thirty-nine circRNAs were found to be up-regulated and 20 were down-regulated (fold change > 2.0). Among them, hsa_circ_0013958 was further confirmed to be up-regulated in all of the LAC tissues, cells and plasma. In addition, hsa_circ_0013958 levels were associated with TNM stage (P = 0.009) and lymphatic metastasis (P = 0.006). The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve was 0.815 (95% confidence interval = 0.727–0.903; P < 0.001). In addition, to further illustrate the bioactivities of hsa_circ_0013958 in LAC, siRNA-mediated inhibition of hsa_circ_0013958 was performed in vitro. The results showed that hsa_circ_0013958 promoted cell proliferation and invasion and inhibited cell apoptosis in LAC. Moreover, hsa_circ_0013958 was identified as a sponge of miR-134, and thus it up-regulated oncogenic cyclin D1, which plays a pivotal role in the development of non-small cell lung cancer. In conclusion, our results suggested that hsa_circ_0013958 could be used as a potential non-invasive biomarker for the early detection and screening of LAC.