Tight junction associated proteins are key molecular components governing cellular adhesion, polarity and glandular differentiation. Tight junction proteins also play critical roles in cellular proliferation and neoplastic pathways via their functions as couplers of the extracellular milieu to intracellular signaling pathways and the cytoskeleton. Neoplastic cells frequently exhibit structural and functional deficiencies in the tight junction. The purpose of this study was to determine the pattern of expression and prognostic value of four tight junction associated proteins, claudin-1, claudin-4, occludin and ZO-1 in a cohort of TNM stage II colon cancer using tissue microarray technology. In this study, we retrospectively analyzed, resected and otherwise untreated paraffin embedded specimens from 129 consecutive patients with TNM stage II colonic carcinomas for claudin-1, claudin-4, occludin and ZO-1 protein expression by immunohistochemistry. Seventy-five, 58, 56 and 44% of the tumors exhibited normal to elevated expression levels (+2 and +3 immunopositivity) of claudin-1, claudin-4, occludin and ZO-1 respectively. Low expression levels of claudin-1 and ZO-1 were directly associated with higher tumor grade (P=0.05 and 0.03 respectively). Multivariate analysis indicated that lymphovascular invasion (P=0.01) and low levels of claudin-1 (P=0.0001) expression were independent predictors of recurrence and that reduced claudin-1 expression (P=0.0001) was associated with poor survival. This study is the first to comprehensively examine the expression of several tight junction associated proteins in colonic neoplasms and to correlate their expression with disease progression. Loss of claudin-1 expression proved to be a strong predictor of disease recurrence and poor patient survival in stage II colon cancer.