Cell invasion is required for neoplastic metastasis. Matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9), which degrades the extracellular matrix, is a major component in the process of cancer cell invasion. Sulfuretin is one of the major flavonoids isolated from Rhus verniciflua. Sulfuretin has been used to reduce oxidative stress, platelet aggregation, the inflammatory response and mutagenesis. However, the effect of sulfuretin on breast cancer metastasis is unknown. In this study, we investigated the inhibitory effect of sulfuretin on 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA)-induced MMP-9 expression and cell invasion in MCF-7 cells. Sulfuretin inhibited TPA-induced transcriptional activation of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB). We demonstrated that sulfuretin mediated the inhibition of TPA-induced MMP-9 expression and that cell invasion in MCF-7 cells involved suppression of the NF-κB pathway. Therefore, inhibiting MMP-9 expression by sulfuretin may have therapeutic potential for controlling breast cancer invasiveness.