Liver receptor homologue 1 (LRH-1) is an orphan nuclear receptor that has been implicated in the progression of breast, pancreatic and colorectal cancer (CRC). To determine mechanisms underlying growth promotion by LRH-1 in CRC, we undertook global expression profiling following siRNA-mediated LRH-1 knockdown in HCT116 cells, which require LRH-1 for growth and in HT29 cells, in which LRH-1 does not regulate growth. Interestingly, expression of the cell cycle inhibitor p21 (CDKN1A) was regulated by LRH-1 in HCT116 cells. p21 regulation was not observed in HT29 cells, where p53 is mutated. p53 dependence for the regulation of p21 by LRH-1 was confirmed by p53 knockdown with siRNA, while LRH-1-regulation of p21 was not evident in HCT116 cells where p53 had been deleted. We demonstrate that LRH-1-mediated p21 regulation in HCT116 cells does not involve altered p53 protein or phosphorylation, and we show that LRH-1 inhibits p53 recruitment to the p21 promoter, likely through a mechanism involving chromatin remodelling. Our study suggests an important role for LRH-1 in the growth of CRC cells that retain wild-type p53.