Long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) LINC00665 was demonstrated to be upregulated in lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD) and target miR-181c-5p. ZIC2, which is upregulated in LUAD, serves as a putative target of miR-181c-5p. In this study, we aimed to reveal whether LINC00665 regulates miR-181c-5p/ZIC2 axis to promote LUAD progression. The results showed that LINC00665, HOXA1, ZIC2, and HOXA11 levels were increased in LUAD tissues, while miR-181c-5p level was decreased when compared to the adjacent normal tissues. High expression levels of LINC00665, ZIC2, HOXA1 and HOXA11, and low expression of miR-181c-5p were closely linked to poor prognosis of LUAD patients. Knockdown of LINC00665 induced obvious inhibitions in cell viability, clone formation, invasion and tumorigenesis in LUAD cells, whereas miR-181c-5p downregulation significantly neutralized these effects. In addition, downregulation of ZIC2 obviously reversed the enhancements of cell viability, clone formation, invasion and tumorigenesis induced by miR-181c-5p knockdown. In summary, the present study reveals that silencing of LINC00665 suppresses LUAD progression through targeting miR-181c-5p/ZIC2 axis.