BACKGROUND : The role of miR-99a-3p in Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) has not been reported. Therefore, in this study, we examined the expression level and its molecular mechanisms of miR-99a-3p in HNSCC. METHODS : MiR-99a-3p-related miRNA-chip and miRNA-sequencing data were collected. We then carried out meta-analyses to pool the standard mean difference (SMD) value and generate a summarized receiver operating characteristic (sROC) curve. MiR-99a-3p mimic was transfected into FaDu cells and those genes influenced by miR-99a-3p were gathered. The target genes were also predicted from 12 tools through miRwalk2.0, and combined with differentially expressed genes in HNSCC from the The Cancer Genome Atlas and Genotype-Tissue Expression sequencing databases. FunRich and DAVID were used for the pathway signaling analyses for the potential targets of miR-99a-3p in HNSCC. RESULTS : The SMD was -0.30 (95% CI: -0.51, -0.08) in the fixed-effect model and -0.28 (95% CI: -0.67, 0.10) in the random-effect model (I2 = 60%), indicating a reduced expression level of miR-99a-3p in HNSCC tissues based on 1167 cases. In the sROC curve, the area under the curve (AUC) was 0.77 (95% CI: 0.73, 0.81). The 251 potential targets of miR-99a-3p were enriched in several pathways related to cancer, with the "Pathways in cancer" standing at the top. vascular endothelial growth factor A was selected as an example with up-regulated trend in HNSCC tissues. CONCLUSIONS : MiR-99a-3p exhibits a significant lower expression status in HNSCC, and this reduced or deletion status promotes the malignant progression of HNSCC. However, its molecular mechanism is still unclear and requires further investigation.