MicroRNA-139-5p was identified to be significantly down-regulated in glioblastoma multiform (GBM) by miRNA array. In this report we aimed to clarify its biological function, molecular mechanisms and direct target gene in GBM. Twelve patients with GBM were analyzed for the expression of miR-139-5p by quantitative RT-PCR. miR-139-5p overexpression was established by transfecting miR-139-5p-mimic into U87MG and T98G cells, and its effects on cell proliferation were studied using MTT assay and colony formation assays. We concluded that ectopic expression of miR-139-5p in GBM cell lines significantly suppressed cell proliferation and inducing apoptosis. Bioinformatics coupled with luciferase and western blot assays also revealed that miR-139-5p suppresses glioma cell proliferation by targeting ELTD1 and regulating cell cycle.