Traditional research modes aim to find cancer-specific single therapeutic target. Recently, emerging evidence suggested that some micro-RNAs (miRNA) can function as oncogenes or tumor suppressors. miRNAs are single-stranded, small noncoding RNA genes that can regulate hundreds of downstream target genes. In this study, we evaluated the miRNA expression patterns in gastric carcinoma and the specific role of miR-223 in gastric cancer metastasis. miRNA expression signature was first analyzed by real-time PCR on 10 paired gastric carcinomas and confirmed in another 20 paired gastric carcinoma tissues. With the 2-fold expression difference as a cutoff level, we identified 22 differential expressed mature miRNAs. Sixteen miRNAs were upregulated in gastric carcinoma, including miR-223, miR-21, miR-23b, miR-222, miR-25, miR-23a, miR-221, miR-107, miR-103, miR-99a, miR-100, miR-125b, miR-92, miR-146a, miR-214 and miR-191, and six miRNAs were downregulated in gastric carcinoma, including let-7a, miR-126, miR-210, miR-181b, miR-197, and miR-30aa-5p. After examining these miRNAs in several human gastric originated cell lines, we found that miR-223 is overexpressed only in metastatic gastric cancer cells and stimulated nonmetastatic gastric cancer cells migration and invasion. Mechanistically, miR-223, induced by the transcription factor Twist, posttranscriptionally downregulates EPB41L3 expression by directly targeting its 3'-untranslated regions. Significantly, overexpression of miR-223 in primary gastric carcinomas is associated with poor metastasis-free survival. These findings indicate a new regulatory mode, namely, specific miRNA, which is activated by its upstream transcription factor, could suppress its direct targets and lead to tumor invasion and metastasis. ©2011 AACR.