p21Waf1 (p21), p27Kip1 (p27) and cyclin D1 have recently been reported as useful prognostic markers for patients with breast carcinoma. However, studies on these cell cycle regulators in ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) have been extremely limited. Therefore, we studied the immunohistochemical expression of p21, p27 and cyclin D1 proteins in 49 DCIS cases and compared the findings with the clinicopathologic parameters (age, tumor size, gross type, histologic type, histologic grade, necrosis and mitotic index), p53 and estrogen receptor (ER) status. A significant correlation was found between positive p21 immunoreactivity (67.3% of the cases) and well-differentiated histologic grade, non-comedo type, ER-positive and p53-negative (p53-) status. DCIS with p21+/p53- is likely to be the non-comedo type. The overexpression of cyclin D1 (59.2% of the cases) correlated positively with the ER expression (P = 0.001). The p27 protein expression (46.9% of the cases) correlated with the cyclin D1 immunopositivity (P = 0.0003) and ER expression (P = 0.005). No significant associations were seen in the p27 or cyclin D1 expression and other clinicopathologic parameters. Our results suggest that p21 might be more related to the useful biologic markers in DCIS than p27 or cyclin D1. The significant positive association between p21, p27 or cyclin D1 and ER status, and close association of p27 and cyclin D1 expression might be implicated in the tumor biology of DCIS.