While several prognostic factors have been identified in breast carcinoma, the clinical outcome remains hard to predict for individual patients. Better predictive markers are needed to help guide difficult treatment decisions. In a previous study of 78 breast carcinoma specimens, we noted an association between poor clinical outcome and the expression of cytokeratin 17 and/or cytokeratin 5 mRNAs. Here we describe the results of immunohistochemistry studies using monoclonal antibodies against these markers to analyze more than 600 paraffin-embedded breast tumors in tissue microarrays. We found that expression of cytokeratin 17 and/or cytokeratin 5/6 in tumor cells was associated with a poor clinical outcome. Moreover, multivariate analysis showed that in node-negative breast carcinoma, expression of these cytokeratins was a prognostic factor independent of tumor size and tumor grade.