In this study, we investigated the role of embryonic gene Cripto-1 (CR-1) in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) using hepatocyte-specific CR-1-overexpressing transgenic mice. The expression of truncated 1.7-kb CR-1 transcript (SF-CR-1) was significantly higher than the full-length 2.0-kb CR-1 transcript (FL-CR-1) in a majority of HCC tissues and cell lines. Moreover, CR-1 mRNA and protein levels were significantly higher in HCC tissues than adjacent normal liver tissues. Hepatocyte-specific over-expression of CR-1 in transgenic mice enhanced hepatocyte proliferation after 2/3 partial hepatectomy (2/3 PHx). CR-1 over-expression significantly increased in vivo xenograft tumor growth of HCC cells in nude mice and in vitro HCC cell proliferation, migration, and invasion. CR-1 over-expression in the transgenic mouse livers deregulated HCC-related signaling pathways such as AKT, Wnt/β-catenin, Stat3, MAPK/ERK, JNK, TGF-β and Notch, as well as expression of HCC-related genes such as CD5L, S100A8, S100A9, Timd4, Orm2, Orm3, PDK4, DMBT1, G0S2, Plk2, Plk3, Gsta1 and Gsta2. However, histological signs of precancerous lesions, hepatocyte dysplasia or HCC formation were not observed in the livers of 3-, 6- or 8-month-old hepatocyte-specific CR-1-overexpressing transgenic mice. These findings demonstrate that liver-specific CR-1 overexpression in transgenic mice deregulates signaling pathways and genes associated with HCC.