The amplification of cyclin D1, located on chromosome 11q13, in breast cancer patients has been found to be associated with reduced relapse-free and overall survival; however, there still exists strong controversy about these findings. In order to evaluate the prognostic value of cyclin D1 and other prognostic variables in human breast cancers, we have assessed estrogen receptor (ER) status, cyclin D1, c-erbB2 and p53 overexpression in 175 primary breast carcinomas, and investigated the relationships of prognostic variables to the patient clinical outcome and the association between cyclin D1 overexpression and other prognostic variables. There was some degree of variability in staining intensities and proportions within the same tumor. The overexpression of both cyclin D1 and ER revealed a significantly prolonged survival in univariate analysis (P = 0.020). Among the various prognostic variables, distant metastasis showed a statistically significant association with overall survival. A significant correlation was observed between cyclin D1 overexpression and small size of the primary tumor (P = 0.031), low Bloom and Richardson's histological grade (P = 0.001), and positive ER status (P = 0.000). In contrast to what was previously expected, the present study suggests that the overexpression of cyclin D1 has a tendency to have a positive clinical outcome and a potential role in identifying a subset of patients predicting a good prognosis, particularly when ER is coexpressed.