The claudins constitute a 24-member family of proteins that are critical for the function and formation of tight junctions. Here, we examine the expression of claudin-7 in squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the esophagus and its possible role in tumor progression. In the normal esophagus, expression of claudin-7 was confined to the cell membrane of differentiated keratinocytes. However, in the tumor samples, claudin-7 expression is often lost or localized to the cytoplasm. Assaying esophageal SCC lines revealed variable expression of claudin-7, with some lacking expression completely. Knockdown of claudin-7 in SCC cell lines using a small interfering RNA approach led to decreased E-cadherin expression, increased cell growth, and enhanced invasion into a three-dimensional matrix. The opposite was observed when claudin-7 was overexpressed in esophageal SCC cells lacking both claudin-7 and E-cadherin. In this context, the claudin-7-overexpressing cells became more adhesive and less invasive associated with increased E-cadherin expression. In summary, we demonstrate that claudin-7 is mislocalized during the malignant transformation of esophageal keratinocytes. We also demonstrate a critical role for claudin-7 expression in the regulation of E-cadherin in these cells, suggesting this may be one mechanism for the loss of epithelial architecture and invasion observed in esophageal SCC.