The estrogens play important role in the homeostatic maintenance of several target tissues including those in the mammary gland, uterus, bone, cardiovascular system, and brain. Most of estrogen's action is thought to be mediated through its nuclear estrogen receptors, ERalpha and ERbeta, which are members of the nuclear receptor superfamily that act as ligand-induced transcription factors. Acting via its receptors, estrogen also plays an essential role in the development and progression of human breast cancer. The ER and progesterone receptor (PR), which are regulated by estrogen via ER, have been used as prognostic markers in the clinical management of breast cancer patients. However, the prognosis of a patient with ER+/PR+ breast cancer can be highly variable and a significant proportion of hormone receptor positive breast cancers does not respond to endocrine therapy. The identification of estrogen receptor target genes may improve our understanding of the role played by estrogens in breast cancer making it possible to better tailor hormone treatments and improve a patient's response to hormonal therapy. In this review, we explore the literature for data regarding the identification of estrogen receptor-regulated genes in breast cancer cell lines and breast tumor biopsies using high throughput technologies such as serial analysis of gene expression (SAGE) and cDNA microarrays.