Objective To investigate the expression level of long non-coding RNA Down’s syndrome critical region 8 (LncRNA DSCR8) in gastric cancer and its clinical significance.Methods Eighty-six patients with gastric cancer who were hospitalized in our hospital from August 2014 to August 2015 were selected as the research object. Real-time quantitative PCR (qRT-PCR) was used to detect the expression level of LncRNA DSCR8 mRNA in gastric cancer tissues and its adjacent tissues. The relationship between the expression level of LncRNA DSCR8 mRNA and clinicopathological features of gastric cancer was analyzed. Kaplan-Meier method was used to analyze the relationship between the expression of LncRNA DSCR8 mRNA and the survival rate of patients, and multivariate Cox proportional hazards regression analysis was used to analyze the prognostic factors of gastric cancer.Results The expression level of LncRNA DSCR8 mRNA in gastric cancer tissues was higher than that in the paracancerous tissues (P<0.001). The expression levels of LncRNA DSCR8 mRNA in patients with poorly differentiated, TNM Ⅲ–Ⅳ and lymph node metastasis were higher than those in patients with well/moderately differentiated, TNM Ⅰ–Ⅱ and no lymph node metastasis (P<0.05). The 1, 3 and 5-year survival rate of patients with low LncRNA DSCR8 mRNA expression (97.62%, 92.86%, 83.33%, respectively) were higher than those of patients with high LncRNA DSCR8 mRNA expression (63.64%, 38.64%, 31.82%, respectively), P<0.05. LncRNA DSCR8 mRNA and TNM stage were independent risk factors of death in patients with gastric cancer (P<0.05).Conclusions LncRNA DSCR8 is associated with the occurrence, development and prognosis of gastric cancer. It may be an important molecular marker of tumor stage and lymph node metastasis in patients with gastric cancer.