Plexins are the primary receptors of semaphorins, and participate in the majority of intracellular pathways triggered by semaphorins, including the regulation of cell adhesion and the motility of numerous cell types. Recently, several studies have reported that plexins can significantly affect different aspects of cancer cell biology, and the aberrant expression of plexins has been observed in a wide variety of tumor types. However, the expression and role of plexin-B3 in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is yet to be investigated. In the present study, plexin-B3 expression was measured in 14 paired HCC samples and the corresponding adjacent non-cancerous tissue by quantitative polymerase chain reaction and western blot analysis. The results indicated that the mRNA and protein expression levels of plexin-B3 were downregulated in HCC samples when compared with the corresponding adjacent non-cancerous tissue. In order to elucidate the correlation between clinicopathological data and the expression of plexin-B3 in patients with HCC, 84 HCC archived specimens were analyzed by immunohistochemistry (IHC). The IHC results revealed that the protein expression level of plexin-B3 was lower in the HCC samples compared with the corresponding adjacent non-cancerous tissue, and plexin-B3 underexpression was correlated with the patient gender and tumor size. In conclusion, these results indicated that loss of plexin-B3 in HCC may be of predictive value for the occurrence and progression of HCC. Thus, plexin-B3 may be a promising biomarker for the diagnosis and treatment of tumors in the future.