The human gene, human giant larvae (Hugl-1/Llg1/Lgl1) has significant homology to the Drosophila tumour suppressor gene lethal(2)giant larvae (lgl). The lgl gene codes for a cortical cytoskeleton protein, Lgl, that binds Myosin II and is involved in maintaining cell polarity and epithelial integrity. The human protein, Hugl-1 contains several conserved functional domains found in Lgl, suggesting that these proteins may have closely related functions. Whether loss of Hugl expression plays a role in human tumorigenesis has so far not been extensively investigated. Thus, we evaluated tumour tissues from 94 patients undergoing surgery for colorectal cancer (CRC) for loss of Hugl-1 transcription and compared our findings with the clinical data from each of these patients. We found that Hugl-1 was lost in 75% of tumour samples and these losses were associated with advanced stage and particularly with lymph node metastases. Reduced Hugl-1 expression during the adenoma-carcinoma sequence occurring as early as in colorectal adenomas was detected by both immunohistochemical and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction analysis. Functional assays with ecdysone-inducible cell lines revealed that Hugl-1 expression increased cell adhesion and decreased cell migration. Our studies thus indicate that downregulation of Hugl-1 contributes to CRC progression.