In the present study, we examined the expression of the mammaglobin genes, MGB1 and MGB2, in the sentinel lymph nodes (SLNs) of patients with breast cancer and compared our results with the histologic status of the same SLNs. Compared with immunohistochemical staining for cytokeratin 8, which detected metastases in 17 of 42 patients, reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for MGB1 or MGB2 genes was positive in 22 patients. The concordance between the expression of any mammaglobin and histologic status was 79% (33/42), with a sensitivity of 88% and specificity of 72%. The detection of patients with metastases was more sensitive when testing for both MGB1 and MGB2 (P < .0001) rather than MGB2 (P < .0005) or MGB1 (P < .05) alone. The increased detection rate relative to histologic examination suggests that using RT-PCR for the mammaglobin genes might identify patients at higher risk compared with patients with negative RT-PCR results.