Abstract： Objective To investigate the effects of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)gene silencing mediated by short hairpin RNA ( shRNA ) on proliferation and apoptosis of human tongue carcinoma cells. Methods shRNA eukaryotic expression vector targeting the specific sequence of human EGFR gene was constructed and termed shEGFR. The control vector targeting the unrelated sequence was also constructed and termed shNC. The vectors were transiently transfected into Tca8113 cells of human tongue squamous cell carcinoma by LipofectamineTM2000, respectively. The mRNA and protein levels of EGFR in Tca8113 cells were detected by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR)and Western blotting. The cell proliferation of Tca8113 cells was evaluated by methyl thiazolyl tetrazolium(MTT) assay. The apoptosis of Tca8113 cells was assessed by flow cytometry. Results EGFR expression in Tca8113 cells transfected with shEGFR were obviously decreased at mRNA level (81.6% )and protein level (72.0%) (P＜0.05) 48 h after transfection of shEGFR compared with untransfected Tca8113 cells. The proliferation activity of Tca8113 cells transfected with shEGFR was significantly lower than that of Tca8113 cells transfected with shNC and untransfected Tca8113 cells (P＜0. 05). The early apoptotic rate of Tca8113 cells transfected with shEGFR was significantly higher than that of Tca8113 cells transfected with shNC and untransfected Tca8113 cells [ (39.4±7.7)%,(4.3±1.2)%,(2.5±0.9)%.P＜0.05] 48 h after transfection of shEGFR.Conclusions EGFR gene silencing mediated bv shRNA may inhibit cell proliferation and induce apoptosis in human tongue carcinoma cells.