Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a major cause of cancer-related death. Paired related homeobox 1 (PRRX1) is a transcription factor that regulates cell growth and differentiation, but its importance in HCC is unclear. We examined the expression pattern of PRRX1 in nine microarray datasets of human HCC tumour samples (n > 1100) and analyzed its function in HCC cell lines. In addition, we performed gene set enrichment, Kaplan-Meier overall survival analysis, metabolomics and functional assays. PRRX1 is frequently upregulated in human HCC. Pathway enrichment analysis predicted a direct correlation between PRRX1 and focal adhesion and epithelial-mesenchymal transition. High expression of PRRX1 and low ZEB1 or high ZEB2 significantly predicted better overall survival in HCC patients. In contrast, metabolic processes correlated inversely and transcriptional analyses revealed that glycolysis, TCA cycle and amino acid metabolism were affected. These findings were confirmed by metabolomics analysis. At the phenotypic level, PRRX1 knockdown accelerated proliferation and clonogenicity in HCC cell lines. Our results suggest that PRRX1 controls metabolism, has a tumour suppressive role, and may function in cooperation with ZEB1/2. These findings have functional relevance in HCC, including in understanding transcriptional control of distinct cancer hallmarks.