Matriptase is a serine protease expressed by cells of surface epithelial origin, including epithelial breast tumor cells. Matriptase cleaves and activates proteins implicated in the progression of cancer and represents a potential prognostic and therapeutic target. The aim of this study was to examine matriptase expression in breast tumors of Chinese women and to identify its clinicopathological correlations. Immunohistochemical analysis of matriptase was performed in tissue microarrays of 251 breast tumors including 30 fibroadenomas, 59 ductal carcinomas in situ (DCIS), 38 grade I invasive ductal carcinomas (IDC), 79 grade II IDC, and 45 grade III IDC. The matriptase scores were significantly higher in the tumors than their non-tumor counterparts (178+/-12 for fibroadenoma; 275+/-11 for DCIS; 299+/-10 for grade I IDC; 251+/-10 for grade II IDC; and 314+/-11 for grade III IDC). In cases of IDC, matriptase scores were significantly correlated with tumor staging and nodal staging. Our findings demonstrate that matriptase is over-expressed in breast ductal carcinoma of Chinese women. It therefore may be a good biomarker for diagnosis and treatment of malignant breast tumors.