The EP300 protein is a histone acetyltransferase that regulates transcription via chromatin remodelling and is important in the processes of cell proliferation and differentiation. EP300 acetylation of TP53 in response to DNA damage regulates its DNA-binding and transcription functions. A role for EP300 in cancer has been implied by the fact that it is targeted by viral oncoproteins, it is fused to MLL in Leukaemia and two missense sequence alterations in EP300 were identified in epithelial malignancies. Nevertheless, direct demonstration of the role of EP300 in tumorigenesis by inactivating mutations in human cancers has been lacking. Here we describe EP300 mutations, which predict a truncated protein, in 6(3%) of 193 epithelial cancers analysed. Of these six mutations, two were in primary tumours (a colorectal cancer and a breast cancer) and four were in cancer cell lines (colorectal, breast and pancreatic). In addition, we identified a somatic in-frame insertion in a primary breast cancer and missense alterations in a primary colorectal cancer and two cell lines (breast and pancreatic). Inactivation of the second allele was demonstrated in five of six cases with truncating mutations and in two other cases. Our data show that EP300 is mutated in epithelial cancers and provide the first evidence that it behaves as a classical tumour-suppressor gene.