Metastasis-associated lung adenocarcinoma transcript 1 (MALAT1) is involved in the development and progression of many types of tumors. An aberrant expression of MALAT1 was observed in many kinds of cancers. However, the exact effects and molecular mechanisms of MALAT1 in human hilar cholangiocarcinoma (HCCA) progression are still unknown. Here, we investigated the role of MALAT1 in human HCCA cell lines and clinical tumor samples in order to determine the function of this lncRNA. In our research, lncRNA-MALAT1 was specifically upregulated in HCCA tissues and cell lines, and was associated with pathological T stage, a larger tumor size, and perineural invasion. Knockdown of MALAT1 inhibited the proliferation, migration, and invasion of human HCCA cell. In addition, chemokine receptor-4 (CXCR4) was involved in MALAT1 induced human HCCA growth, migration, and invasion. By using online tools and a series of mechanistic analysis, we also demonstrated that miR-204-dependent CXCR4 regulation was required in MALAT1 modulating HCCA cell growth, migration and invasion. Taken together, our data indicated that MALAT1 might play an oncogenic role in HCCA through miR-204-dependent CXCR4 regulation, and could be regarded as a therapeutic target in HCCA. J. Cell. Biochem. 118: 3643-3653, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.