Our previous study identified that rs11551405 A allele located at the 3′ UTR of mRNA-decapping enzyme 1a (DCP1A) was associated with an increased risk for malignant melanoma (MM). The aim of this study was to investigate whether that association is manifested at the DCP1A expression and whether an altered DCP1A expression can predict disease-specific survival (DSS) of MM patients. The DCP1A expression in specimens of 56 cases of primary MM (23 cases at TNM stage I–II and 33 cases at TNM stage III–IV) and 43 cases of benign nevi (BN) was measured by quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR), immunohistochemistry, and western blotting. The levels of DCP1A expression and the clinical characteristics of the patients were recorded and compared, along with the DSS within the 3 years of follow-up. The average relative mRNA level of DCP1A was significantly (P=0.002) higher in the MM tissues (0.159±0.007) than that shown in the BN tissues (0.122±0.009). The DCP1A immunohistochemistry scores of MM samples (5.55±2.56) were significantly (P<0.001) higher than those of the BN samples (3.58±3.66). Tissue protein levels of DCP1A in MM (0.378±0.021) were much (P<0.05) higher than those in BN tissues (0.265±0.017). Higher DCP1A expression was significantly correlated with shorter DSS time in patients with MM (P<0.05). The multivariate Cox regression analysis revealed that DCP1A expression was an independent prognostic factor for DSS (hazard ratio=1.648, P=0.021). Elevation of DCP1A expression may be an epigenetic contributing factor for oncogenesis of MM, and high DCP1A level may predict an unfavorable prognosis for MM.