The tumour suppressor APC is truncated in most colon cancers, which leads to the stabilization of beta-catenin and to the constitutive activation of Wnt signalling. However, it is not clear why colon cancer cells retain the truncated APC fragment. Here, we show that a decrease of APC levels achieved by RNA interference impairs cell proliferation and DNA replication, not only in 293 cells that express a wild-type protein, but also in SW480 colon cancer cells that express exclusively a truncated APC fragment. This correlates with a reduction of the levels of cyclin A, cyclin A-dependent kinase activity, p27(kip1) and the catalytic subunit of DNA polymerase delta. Thus, our data suggest that colon cancer cells retain a truncated APC fragment because it is essential for cell proliferation.