Loss of intercellular adhesion facilitates tumor invasion. To clarify the relation between altered expression of cell adhesion molecules and progression of T1 superficial bladder tumors, 101 cases (71 T1 tumors, 30 T2/T3 tumors) were examined immunohistochemically for E-cadherin and alpha-, beta-, and gamma-catenins. A highly significant correlation was observed between the decreased expression of all molecules and increased TNM stage (P < .001). Univariate analysis, performed in cases of T1 tumors, revealed association of abnormal E-cadherin with beta-catenin diminution. Survival curves were established with the Kaplan-Meier method and analyzed according to clinical and histopathologic parameters using the log-rank test. Cox multivariate analysis revealed only gamma-catenin as an independent predictor of progression-free survival in patients with stage T1 bladder urothelial tumors. The characterization of T1 tumors that will progress could lead to the identification of patients who might benefit from surgery to avoid vesical muscle invasion and, consequently, metastasis.