BORIS (for brother of the regulator of imprinted sites), a paralogue of the transcription factor, CTCF, is a novel member of the cancer-testis antigen family. The aims of the present study were as follows: (1) to investigate BORIS expression in breast cells and tumours using immunohistochemical staining, western and real-time RT-PCR analyses and (2) assess potential correlation between BORIS levels in tumours with clinical/pathological parameters. BORIS was detected in all 18 inspected breast cell lines, but not in a primary normal breast cell culture. In 70.7% (41 of 58 cases) BORIS was observed in breast tumours. High levels of BORIS correlated with high levels of progesterone receptor (PR) and oestrogen receptor (ER). The link between BORIS and PR/ER was further confirmed by the ability of BORIS to activate the promoters of the PR and ER genes in the reporter assays. Detection of BORIS in a high proportion of breast cancer patients implies potential practical applications of BORIS as a molecular biomarker of breast cancer. This may be important for diagnosis of the condition and for the therapeutic use of BORIS. The ability of BORIS to activate promoters of the RP and ER genes points towards possible involvement of BORIS in the establishment, progression and maintenance of breast tumours.