Serum concentrations of sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), corticosteroid binding globulin (CBG), and albumin were found to be normal in women with breast cancer (Ca), with benign breast disease (BBD), or with a family history of breast cancer (FHCa). Comparisons between serum steroid binding capacities and immunoassayable SHBG and CBG concentrations did not reveal abnormal forms of either protein. The serum distribution of estradiol (E2) was also determined, and women with Ca were found to have a significantly (P less than .025) higher mean percentage of non-protein-bound E2 than matched controls, but the difference was very small. In general, women with Ca also had proportionately more (P less than .05) albumin-bound E2 and less (P less than .05) SHBG-bound E2 in their sera than the controls, but the serum distributions of E2 in the BBD and FHCa subjects were the same as in controls. The dissociation rates of 5 alpha-dihydrotestosterone and E2 from SHBG in serum appear to increase with time in frozen serum samples, and this factor may effect measurements of the distribution of these steroids in serum.