The deregulation of miR-101 and DNMT3a has been implicated in the pathogenesis of multiple tumor types, but whether and how miR-101 silencing and DNMT3a overexpression contribute to lung tumorigenesis remain elusive. Here we show that miR-101 downregulation associates with DNMT3a overexpression in lung cancer cell lines and patient tissues. Ectopic miR-101 expression remarkably abrogated the DNMT3a 30-UTR luciferase activity corresponding to the miR-101 binding site and caused an attenuated expression of endogenous DNMT3a, which led to a reduction of global DNA methylation and the re-expression of tumor suppressor CDH1 via its promoter DNA hypomethylation. Functionally, restoration of miR-101 expression suppressed lung cancer cell clonability and migration, which recapitulated the DNMT3a knockdown effects. Interestingly, miR-101 synergized with decitabine to downregulate DNMT3a and to reduce DNA methylation. Importantly, ectopic miR-101 expression was sufficient to trigger in vivo lung tumor regression and the blockage of metastasis. Consistent with these phenotypes, examination of xenograft tumors disclosed an increase of miR-101, a decrease of DNMT3a and the subsequent DNA demethylation. These findings support that the loss or suppression of miR-101 function accelerates lung tumorigenesis through DNMT3a-dependent DNA methylation, and suggest that miR-101-DNMT3a axis may have therapeutic value in treating refractory lung cancer.