The products of the Jun family genes, c-Jun, JunB and JunD, are essential components of the activating protein-1 transcription factor complexes that are critically important in the control of cell growth, differentiation and neoplastic transformation. Although increased c-Jun expression has been reported in human colorectal tumors, expression of JunB and JunD in these tumors has not previously been characterized. In the current study, we examined 24 cases of human colorectal adenocarcinoma by western immunoblotting analysis and immunohistochemical staining for the expression of c-Jun, JunB and JunD proteins. Normal-appearing colonic mucosa distant from the tumors in the same colectomy specimens were used as a reference for comparison. The results showed that both c-Jun and JunB proteins were undetectable or barely detectable in normal mucosa but their expression levels were significantly increased in human colorectal adenocarcinomas. In contrast, JunD protein was present at high levels in normal mucosa and only showed a minimal increase in adenocarcinomas. These observations suggest that different Jun proteins may serve different roles in regulating colonic epithelial cell growth and in colorectal tumorigenesis.