Glucose uptake is mediated by glucose transporter (Glut) proteins, which exhibit altered expression in a variety of malignant neoplasms. Glut1 expression is thought to be a potential marker for malignant transformation. The aim of the present study was to investigate the expression of Glut1 protein in colorectal adenomas, T1 and T2 stage carcinomas. Immunohistochemical detection of Glut1 protein was examined in 141 formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded colorectal tumour specimens (57 adenomas, 84 carcinomas). The degree of Glut1 immunostaining of a specimen was graded according to the proportion of Glut1-positive cells in it; absent (positive cells are 0%), weakly positive (less than 10%), moderately positive (10-50%), and strongly positive (more than 50%). Glut1 expression was present in 18% of the adenomas with low-grade dysplasia, and in 63% of the adenomas with high-grade dysplasia. The positivity in such lesions was usually weak, but was moderate in 8% of the adenomas with high grade dysplasia. For the carcinomas, there were significant correlations between Glut1-positivity and depth of invasion (T1 45% versus T2 74%, P<0.01), histological differentiation (well 49% versus moderately to poorly 74%, P< 0.05) and morphological type (polypoid 42% versus depressed 73%, P< 0.05), if the cut-off value was set at 10% of cells. In conclusion, we clarified the relationship between Glut1 expression and clinicopathological features in T1 and T2 stage colorectal carcinomas, and our results suggested a high malignant potential of the depressed-type carcinoma.