Chromosome arm 8p is one of the most frequently altered regions in human cancers. Several potential oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes have been identified but further investigations are needed to confirm which are bona fide oncogenic targets. In cancer cells, chromosome breaks may occur at fragile sites throughout the genome. Some fragile sites lie within genes that may have a role in cancer; the best example is FHIT at 3p14, which contains the fragile site FRA3B. We have found that chromosome breaks disrupt the NRG1 gene at 8p12 in breast and pancreatic cancers. We hypothesise that alteration of the NRG1 gene could occur through breakage at a non-common fragile site.