The expression and biological consequences of Kaiso, a novel bi-modal transcription factor, in infiltrating ductal carcinomas (IDCs) have not been widely investigated. In the present study, we determined Kaiso expression and subcellular localization in 146 normal tissues, 376 IDCs, and 85 lymph node metastases. In IDCs, there was higher Kaiso expression in both the cytoplasmic and nuclear compartments, which correlated with age <48 (cytoplasmic p < 0.0093; nuclear p < 0.0001) and moderate differentiation (cytoplasmic p < 0.0042; nuclear p < 0.0001), as determined by Chi square analysis. However, only nuclear Kaiso correlated with poor prognostic factors, i.e., race (African Americans) (p < 0.0001), poor differentiation (p < 0.0001), and metastases (p < 0.0001). Nuclear Kaiso was also associated with worse overall survival (p < 0.0019), with African American patients displaying worse survival rates relative to Caucasian patients (p < 0.029). MCF-7 (non-metastatic), MDA-MB-468 (few metastases), and MDA-MB-231 (highly metastatic) breast cancer cells demonstrated increasing Kaiso levels, with more nuclear localization in the highly metastatic cell line. Over-expression of Kaiso in MCF-7 cells increased cell migration and invasion, but treatment of MDA-MB-468 and MDA-MB-231 cells with si-Kaiso decreased cell migration and invasion and induced expression of E-cadherin RNA and protein. E-cadherin re-expression was associated with a reversal of mesenchymal associated cadherins, N-cadherin and cadherin 11, as well as decreased vitamin expression. Further, Kaiso directly bound to methylated sequences in the E-cadherin promoter, an effect prevented by 5-aza-2-deoxycytidine. Immunofluorescence co-staining of poorly differentiated IDCs demonstrated that nuclear Kaiso is associated with a loss of E-cadherin expression. These findings support a role for Kaiso in promoting aggressive breast tumors. © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.