Despite being the most evolutionarily conserved of the mammalian caspases, little is understood about the cellular function of caspase-2 in normal tissues or what role caspase-2 may have in the progression of human disease. It has been reported that deletion of the caspase-2 gene (Casp2), accelerates Eμ-myc lymphomagenesis in mice, and thus caspase-2 may act as a tumor suppressor in hematological malignancies. Here, we sought to extend these findings to epithelial cancers by examining the potential role of caspase-2 as a tumor suppressor in the mouse mammary carcinogenesis model; MMTV/c-neu. The rate of tumor acquisition was significantly higher in multiparous Casp2(-/-)/MMTV mice compared with Casp2(+/+)/MMTV and Casp2(+/-)/MMTV mice. Cells from Casp2(-/-)/MMTV tumors were often multinucleated and displayed bizarre mitoses and karyomegaly, while cells from Casp2(+/+)/MMTV and Casp2(+/-)/MMTV tumors never displayed this phenotype. Tumors from Casp2(-/-)/MMTV animals had a significantly higher mitotic index than tumors from Casp2(+/+)/MMTV and Casp2(+/-)/MMTV animals. Cell cycle analysis of Casp2(-/-) E1A/Ras-transformed mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEF) also indicated a higher proliferative rate in the absence of caspase-2. In vitro assays further illustrated that MEF had increased genomic instability in the absence of caspase-2. This appears to be due to disruption of the p53 pathway because we observed a concomitant decrease in the induction of the p53 target genes, Pidd, p21 and Mdm2. Thus caspase-2 may function as a tumor suppressor, in part, through regulation of cell division and genomic stability.