Claudin-20 is a member of the Claudin family of transmembrane proteins located in the tight junction (TJ) of cells of epithelial origin. Due to the increasing evidence supporting the role of TJ proteins in preventing tumor cell metastatic behavior, this study sought to evaluate the distribution of Claudin-20 in human breast cancer and the effect of Claudin-20 overexpression in human breast cancer cells. Q-PCR data from breast cancer primary tumors (n = 114) and matched background tissue (n = 30) showed that high claudin-20 expression was correlated with poor survival of patients with breast cancer (p = 0.022). Following transformation of the breast cancer cell lines MDA-MB-231 and MCF7 with a Claudin-20 expression construct functional assays were performed to ascertain changes in cell behavior. Claudin-20 transformed cells showed significantly increased invasion (p < 0.005) and were significantly less adhesive than wild type cells (p < 0.05). There was no effect on growth (either in vitro or in vivo) for either cell line. Overexpression of Claudin-20 resulted in reduced transepithelial resistance (induced by the motogen HGF at 25 ng/ml, p = 0.0007). Interestingly, this was not mirrored by paracellular permeability, as overexpression of Claudin-20 caused a decrease in permeability. The introduction of Claudin-20 into human breast cancer cells resulted in breast cancer cells with an aggressive phenotype and reduced trans-epithelial resistance. There was no corresponding decrease in paracellular permeability, indicating that this Claudin has a differential function in epithelial TJ. This provides further insight into the importance of correctly functioning TJ in preventing the progression of human breast cancer.