Colorectal cancer (CRC) accounts for high mortality. So far, there is lack of markers capable of predicting which patients are at risk of aggressive course of the disease. Protein phosphatase-2A (PP2A) inhibitor proteins have recently gained interest as markers of more aggressive disease in certain cancers. Here, we report the role of PP2A inhibitor PME-1 in CRC. PME-1 expression was assessed from a rectal cancer patient cohort by immunohistochemistry, and correlations were performed for various clinicopathological variables and patient survival. Rectal cancer patients with higher cytoplasmic PME-1 protein expression (above median) had less recurrences (P = 0.003, n = 195) and better disease-free survival (DFS) than the patients with low cytoplasmic PME-1 protein expression (below median). Analysis of PPME-1 mRNA expression from TCGA dataset of colon and rectal adenocarcinoma (COADREAD) patient cohort confirmed high PPME1 expression as an independent protective factor predicting favorable overall survival (OS) (P = 0.005, n = 396) compared to patients with low PPME1 expression. CRC cell lines were used to study the effect of PME-1 knockdown by siRNA on cell survival. Contrary to other cancer types, PME-1 inhibition in CRC cell lines did not reduce the viability of cells or the expression of active phosphorylated AKT and ERK proteins. In conclusion, PME-1 expression predicts for a favorable outcome of CRC patients. The unexpected role of PME-1 in CRC in contrast with the oncogenic role of PP2A inhibitor proteins in other malignancies warrants further studies of cancer-specific function for each of these proteins. © 2015 The Authors. Cancer Medicine published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.