p120 is a cytoplasmic molecule closely associated with the Ca(2+)-dependent cell-cell adhesion molecule E-cadherin, by forming complexes between the cytoplasmic domain of E-cadherin and the cytoskeleton. Although it has been shown that loss or downregulation of E-cadherin is associated with an invasive and poorly differentiated phenotype in several tumours, there is very little information available concerning p120 expression in malignant disease. We used an avidin-biotin immunoperoxidase technique to examine the immunoreactivity and cellular localisation of p120 and E-cadherin in 68 transitional cell carcinomas (TCC) and 14 normal bladder biopsies and correlated these results with pathological and clinical parameters. E-cadherin and p120 were expressed in a normal membranous pattern in all normal bladder epithelium specimens. Loss of normal surface E-cadherin and p120 expression was found in 52/68 (76%) and 57/68 (84%) tumours, respectively. There was a significant correlation between the loss of normal membranous expression of p120 and increased grade (P < 0.001) and T stage (P < 0.001). The abnormal expression of p120 was correlated with poor survival (P < 0.05). Our data indicate that the E-cadherin-p120 complex may be a useful prognostic marker in bladder cancer.