MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play a critical role in cancer development and progression. Deregulated expression of miR-204 has been reported in several cancers, but the mechanism through which miR-204 modulates human non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is largely unknown. In this study, we investigate the expression and functional role of miR-204 in human NSCLC tissues and cell lines. RNA isolation, qRT-PCR, MTT, colony formation assay, cell cycle assay, cell apoptosis assay, cell migration assay, and Western blot were performed. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS 18.0 software and statistical significance was accepted at p value <0.05. miR-204 level was significantly reduced in NSCLC tissues as compared to that of non-neoplastic tissues. Transient over-expression of miR-204 by transfecting with miR-204 mimics suppressed NSCLC cell proliferation, migration, and induced apoptosis and G1 arrest, whereas inhibition of miR-204 showed the converse effects. Additionally, activating transcription factor 2 (ATF2), an important transcription factor, was demonstrated as a potential target gene of miR-204. Subsequent investigations found a negative correlation between miR-204 level and ATF2 expression in NSCLC tissue samples. Moreover, we observed that miR-204 expression inversely affected endogenous ATF2 expression at both mRNA and protein levels in vitro. Taken together, miR-204 may act as a tumor suppressor by directly targeting ATF2 in NSCLC.