Approximately 15 to 20% of primary breast cancers and an even higher proportion of squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck show amplification of DNA markers on band q13 of human chromosome 11. However, known genes within the amplified region, such as the FGF-related oncogenes INT-2 and HST-1, are very rarely expressed in these tumors. Here we show that another candidate oncogene, designated D11S287, implicated in the pathogenesis of parathyroid adenomas, is also amplified in breast cancers. Significantly, it is consistently coamplified with INT-2 and HST-1 in 36 out of 202 primary tumors, including one case in which the amplified unit did not encompass the translocation breakpoint marker BCL-1. This implies that D11S287 is on the same side of the breakpoint as INT-2, and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis indicates that D11S287 is less than 250 kb from the BCL-1 marker. Since D11S287 RNA was present at elevated levels in a group of tumors and cell lines in which the 11q13 region is amplified, it may be the key oncogene on this amplified unit, and could also be activated by BCL-1 translocations.