Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths worldwide. Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) have been increasingly reported to serve vital parts in malignancies including CRC. Although cancer susceptibility 21 (CASC21) has been uncovered to play a part in CRC, its mechanism still needs further explanation. Thus, our study aimed to further explore the influence and mechanism of CASC21 in CRC progression. Quantitative real-time RT-PCR and western blot were performed to detect gene expression; a series of functional assays were performed to investigate the effect of CASC21 on CRC cells; tumour growth was evaluated via the nude mice xenograft model. The results revealed that CASC21 facilitated CRC cell proliferation, migration, epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and stemness. In addition, CASC21 was co-expressed with and bound to transcription factor POU5F1B (POU class 5 homeobox 1B). CASC21 recruited POU5F1B to HGH1 promoter to activate the transcription of HGH1 homolog. Also, CASC21 served as a competitive endogenous RNA (ceRNA) to up-regulate HGH1 via endogenously sponging miR-485-5p. Moreover, HGH1 overexpression counteracted the suppression of CASC21 deficiency on CRC tumour growth. In summary, our study indicated that CASC21 enhanced the expression of HGH1 to promote the malignancy of CRC by recruiting POU5F1B and sponging miR-485-5p, suggesting a key role of CASC21 in CRC progression.