Decreased level of miR-204-5p has been documented in various malignancies. However, the expression and clinical significance of miR-204-5p in hepatocellular carcinoma has not been investigated. The aim of this study is to examine the relationship between miR-204-5p expression and clinicopathological features in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) as well as to predict the relevant signaling pathways. The miR-204-5p expression level was detected in HCC and in matched paraneoplastic liver from 95 formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues by the real-time reverse transcription polymerized chain reaction (qRT-PCR). The association of miR-204-5p expression with clinicopathological features as well as the prognosis of HCC was examined. Public data portals including the Gene Expression Omnibus and The Cancer Genome Atlas were used to retrieve the HCC-related data in order to perform a comprehensive meta-analysis. Meanwhile, protein–protein interaction (PPI) and enrichment analyses were performed using predicted target genes. The relative expression of miR-204-5p was remarkably reduced in HCC than that in paraneoplastic hepatic tissues. In HCC, the miR-204-5p expression was downregulated in the metastasis, vasoinvasion, and advanced stage (III and IV) subgroups compared with their counterparts. Furthermore, the meta-analysis based on qRT-PCR data demonstrated that miR-204-5p was markedly downregulated in HCC with a standardized mean difference of –5.19 (P < .001). However, no significant association was observed between miR-204-5p and survival outcomes. The potential target genes of miR-204-5p were significantly enriched in several pathways which might be associated with HCC, such as “cell proliferation” from GO terms and “pathways in cancer” from the KEGG analysis. A PPI network of miR-204-5p potential target genes identified prospective core genes potentially involved in the regulation of HCC oncogenesis and progression. Our findings suggested that miR-204-5p might act as a tumor-suppressive gene in the tumorigenesis and progression of HCC via vital signaling pathways and that miR-204-5p could be regarded as a protective factor in HCC.