The estrogen receptor-alpha (ERalpha) has been known to play a role in the development and progression of breast cancer. Several genetic polymorphisms in the ERalpha gene have been related to breast cancer risk and/or different tumor characteristics. In this study, PCR and direct sequencing based methods were used to examine this issue further in a Korean study population consisting of 155 women, 110 with breast cancer and 45 without cancer. We also assessed the potential role of the ERalpha genotype in ER, PR, p53, c-erbB2, and bcl-2 expression. Only one of the allelic variants of ERalpha gene was found in our study subjects; the (C(975)G) change was present in half of the study subjects. Although this allele had no direct effect in individual breast cancer risk, it was positively associated with tumor PR (P for trend=0.04) and ER expression (P for trend=0.06) and negatively associated with p53 expression (P for trend=0.02).