Cingulin is a 140-kd protein localized on the cytoplasmic face of avian tight junctions. The expression of cingulin in human normal and neoplastic colonic tissue has been investigated with an antiserum against chicken cingulin. Human cingulin shares its apparent molecular mass and localization with avian cingulin. In normal colonic epithelium, villous adenomas, and differentiated adenocarcinomas, cingulin staining is observed in the junctional region of the polarized cells lining the surface, the crypts, and the glandular lumina. In poorly differentiated adenocarcinomas, labeling also is observed at the interface between cancer tissue and stroma, or in clumps of malignant cells, forming a pattern that highlights the presence of small, compressed lumina. The cingulin content of four adenocarcinomas, estimated by immunoblotting and densitometry, was higher than that of the normal tissue (150% to 230%). Cingulin was detected in a metastasis from a colon adenocarcinoma but not in nonepithelial tissues and neoplasias, suggesting that cingulin may be a useful marker in the characterization of colonic and probably other epithelial neoplasias.