A total of 18 families with multiple cases of breast cancer were identified from southern Taiwan, and 5 of these families were found to carry cancer-associated germline mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. One novel cryptic splicing mutation of the BRCA1 gene, found in two unrelated families, was shown to be a deletion of 10 bp near the branch site in intron 7. This mutation causes an insertion of 59 nucleotides derived from intron 7 and results in a frameshift, leading to premature translational termination of BRCA1 mRNA in exon 8. Deletions of 2670delC, 3073delT and 6696-7delTC in the BRCA2 gene were found in three other breast cancer families. All three deletions are predicted to generate frameshifts and to result in the premature termination of BRCA2 protein translation. Several genetic polymorphisms in both BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes were also detected in this investigation.