Natural killer (NK) activity of immune cells plays a central role in host defense against cancer and virus-infected cells. Natural cytotoxic activity of peripheral-blood mononuclear cells was assessed by a Calcein-AM release assay in 89 subjects. In the present study, we here demonstrated that NK activities of peripheral-blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from breast cancer patients were significantly lower as compared with that of healthy individuals. There were significant differences in the NK activities of PBMCs from HER2-negative breast cancer patients as compared with HER2-positive patients. Our results suggest that NK activity of PBMCs is lower in breast cancer indicating a role for immunological natural host defense mechanisms against cancer.