To date, five moderate-risk breast cancer susceptibility genes have been convincingly identified: CHEK2, ATM, BRIP1, PALB2, and NBS1. Moderate-risk breast cancer alleles confer increased breast cancer risks of two to fourfold compared to the 10% risk in the general population. In contrast to the high-risk BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, moderate-risk genes typically have a limited number of variants that confer breast cancer risks. The prevalence of the variants usually varies widely among different geographical or ethnic populations, ranging from essentially absent up to 1.5% (i.e. 'rare' variants). Since moderate-risk breast cancer alleles are clinically not recognizable when inherited as single mutant, one usually encounters them in a polygenic setting and consequently in incomplete cosegregation with the breast cancer phenotype. As a result, discovery of moderate-risk breast cancer genes requires conclusive statistical evidence from association studies of hundreds of breast cancer cases and population-matched controls.