The aim of this study was to investigate the specific molecular mechanism of the transforming growth factor β (TGF-β)-induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition in a lung cancer cell line, and to provide new ideas for targeting therapy of lung cancer. A549 cells were treated with different concentrations of TGF-β and 5-aza-deoxycytidine (5-aza-dC). The morphological changes after the intervention were observed. The change in the expression of the epithelial marker E-cadherin (E-cad) was detected by Western blot. The proliferation of A549 cells was measured using the MTT assay. Cell movement and invasion capacity was evaluated with the cell scratch test and invasion test.