Alterations in TGF-beta signaling appear to be associated with an altered risk of developing cancer, including breast cancer. We carried out a case-control study on 8 polymorphisms, including 5 in the TGF-beta1 gene (G-800A, C-509T, Leu10-->Pro, Arg25-->Pro and Thr263-->Ile), a polyalanine polymorphism (9A-->6A) in the TGF-betaRI gene and 2 (G-875A and A-364G) in the TGF-betaRII gene, using samples from 2 different populations, Polish familial and Finnish unselected breast cancer cases, together with ethnically and geographically matched controls. Additionally, familial breast cancer cases with respective controls from Sweden and Germany were studied in the Leu10-->Pro polymorphism, making the total number of familial cases 659. Allele, genotype and haplotype analysis on the TGF-beta1 gene as well as an analysis of the combinations of genotypes of the TGF-beta1 and its receptor genes in each individual were performed. Population differences in the allele and genotype distributions were found from 5 of the polymorphisms and 3 common haplotypes from the TGF-beta1 gene between the Finnish and other populations. However, no statistically significant difference between the breast cancer and healthy control groups was found for any of the 8 polymorphisms nor did the haplotype or genotype combination analysis reach statistical significance. Thus, none of the studied polymorphisms from the TGF-beta1 and its receptor genes was found to influence significantly susceptibility to breast cancer. The possible contribution of 6A/6A homozygosity in the TGF-betaRI gene to breast cancer needs to be confirmed in an independent study.