CD3+CD56+ natural killer T (NKT)-like cells are a group of CD3+ T cells sharing characteristics of NK and T cells and constitute a major component of host anti-tumor immune response in human cancer. However, the nature, function and clinical relevance of CD3+CD56+ NKT-like cells in human gastric cancer (GC) remain unclear. In this study, we showed that the frequencies of CD3+CD56+NKT-like cells in GC tumors were significantly decreased and low levels of tumor-infiltrating CD3+CD56+ NKT-like cells were positively correlated with poor survival and disease progression. Most CD3+CD56+NKT-like cells in GC tumors were CD45RA-CD27+/- central/effector-memory cells with decreased activity and lower expression levels of CD69, NKG2D and DNAM-1 than those in non-tumor tissues. We further observed that tumor-infiltrating CD3+CD56+ NKT-like cells had impaired effector function as shown by decreased IFN-γ, TNF-α, granzyme B and Ki-67 expression. Moreover, in vitro studies showed that soluble factors released from GC tumors could induce the functional impairment of CD3+CD56+ NKT-like cells. Collectively, our data indicate that decreased tumor-infiltrating CD3+CD56+ NKT-like cells with impaired effector function are associated with tumor progression and poor survival of GC patients, which may contribute to immune escape of GC.