Reduced stability of the tandem BRCT domains of human BReast CAncer 1 (BRCA1) due to missense mutations may be critical for loss of function in DNA repair and damage-induced checkpoint control. In the present thermal denaturation study of the BRCA1 BRCT region, high-precision differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy provide evidence for the existence of a denatured state that is structurally very similar to the native. Consistency between theoretical structure-based estimates of the enthalpy (DeltaH) and heat capacity change (DeltaCp) and the calorimetric results is obtained when considering partial thermal unfolding contained in the region of the conserved hydrophobic pocket formed at the interface of the two BRCT repeats. The structural integrity of this region has been shown to be crucial for the interaction of BRCA1 with phosphorylated peptides. In addition, cancer-causing missense mutations located at the inter-BRCT-repeat interface have been linked to the destabilization of the tandem BRCT structure.