RAD52 motif containing 1 (RDM1) encodes the RAD52 protein involved in DNA double-strand break repair and recombination events. However, the importance of RDM1 in papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) is largely unknown. In the present study, we examined the role of RDM1 in thyroid cancer. The RDM1 expression in PTC patients was examined using immunohistochemistry. The expression levels of RDM1 mRNA in thyroid cancer cells were measured by quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR). Lentivirus-mediated small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) were used to knock down the RDM1 expression in the K1 and TPC1 cells. Then, changes in the RDM1 target gene expression were determined by qRT-PCR and Western blot. Cell proliferation was examined by a high content screening assay. Cell cycle distribution and apoptosis were detected by flow cytometric analysis and MTT analysis. We showed that the RDM1 expression was higher in PTC tissue compared to pericarcinous tissue. RDM1 mRNA was found to be expressed by qRT-PCR. Using a lentivirus-based RNA interference (RNAi) approach, the RDM1 expression was significantly inhibited. The inhibition of RDM1 expression by RNAi significantly impaired cell proliferation, increased apoptosis and arrested cells in the G2/M phase. These data showed that RDM1 was highly expressed in PTC tissue and thyroid cancer cell lines. Moreover, RDM1 may play an important role in cell proliferation, cell cycle distribution and apoptosis of human PTC cells.