This study examined the molecular mechanisms underlying the roles of the microRNAs miR-18a and miR-25 in the progression of human liver cancer. Liver cancer biopsies obtained from early-stage liver cancer patients were examined by qRT-PCR and Northern blotting to examine the expression of miR-18a and miR-25. Both microRNAs were overexpressed in mouse primary hepatocytes following transfection of the cells with vectors encoding the microRNAs. An analysis of biopsy samples from liver cancer patients indicated that both miR-18a and miR-25 were overexpressed during the early stages of liver cancer. Further, qRT-PCR and Northern blotting confirmed that both of these microRNAs play crucial roles in the progression of liver cancer. Our findings clearly indicate that miR-18a and miR-25 can be used as prognostic biomarkers for early-stage liver cancer. Hence, miR-18a and miR-25 may have value as prognostic indicators and may facilitate the development of novel therapeutics for liver cancer.