AIM Serum Golgi protein 73 (sGP73) is a novel biomarker for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, there are few reports on the pattern of GP73 expression in the progression of benign liver diseases to precancerous lesions and HCC. This study aimed to investigate GP73 expression and its correlation with clinicopathological parameters. METHODS Tissue GP73 (tGP73) levels were detected in specimens of group A (n = 186) including HCC, peritumoral tissue (PTL), high/low-grade hepatic atypical hyperplasia (AH), chronic hepatitis B (CHB) and normal controls (NC) by immunohistochemistry, and GP73 expression in group B (n = 159) and group C (n = 16) were detected by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction and western blot, respectively. sGP73 levels were detected in subjects of group D (n = 287) by enzyme-linked immunoassay. RESULTS GP73 expression increased gradually from NC, CHB, PTL to high-grade AH and HCC at both protein and mRNA levels (P < 0.05), while sGP73 in the HCC group was lower than in the liver cirrhosis (LC) group (P < 0.001). Both tGP73 and sGP73 levels were negatively associated with tumor size and tumor-node-metastasis stage, and tGP73 levels were positively associated with tumor differentiation. The high-tGP73 group showed significantly better overall and disease-free survival than the low-tGP73 group (P = 0.008, P = 0.018). Multivariate analysis revealed that the tGP73 level was an independent prognostic factor for HCC, but not sGP73. CONCLUSION GP73 expression pattern suggests that the regulatory mechanism of GP73 is related to the progression of chronic liver diseases. Furthermore, a high level of tGP73 is a favorable prognostic factor for HCC.