The INK4a/ARF locus encodes two unrelated cell cycle-regulatory proteins that both function in tumor suppression, p16INK4a and p14ARF. In human tumors including breast cancer, alterations affecting selectively p14ARF have been poorly analysed. We have performed a comprehensive analysis of the inactivation mechanisms (mutation, homozygous and hemizygous deletion, and promoter hypermethylation) in a large series of 100 primary breast carcinomas. RT-PCR showed expression variable of the p14ARF transcript, with 17% demonstrating overexpression and 26% demonstrating decreased expression. No detectable alterations were observed in the majority of cases with overexpressed p14ARF mRNA, but 77% of tumors with decreased expression presented at least one of these genetic/epigenetic alterations. Nevertheless, a statistically significant correlation was observed between decreased p14ARF expression and several poor prognostic parameters.