p120-catenin stabilizes epithelial cadherin (E-cadherin) in SW48 cells, but the mechanism has not been established. Here, we show that p120 acts at the cell surface to control cadherin turnover, thereby regulating cadherin levels. p120 knockdown by siRNA expression resulted in dose-dependent elimination of epithelial, placental, neuronal, and vascular endothelial cadherins, and complete loss of cell-cell adhesion. ARVCF and delta-catenin were functionally redundant, suggesting that proper cadherin-dependent adhesion requires the presence of at least one p120 family member. The data reveal a core function of p120 in cadherin complexes, and strongly predict a dose-dependent loss of E-cadherin in tumors that partially or completely down-regulate p120.