By using the PCR-SSCP technique we characterized various ER-specific RNA species present in a series of primary breast cancers, as well as in cell lines established from breast carcinomas and in mammary gland tissues from healthy specimens. A series of six truncated messenger RNAs generated by alternative splicing was characterized. These RNAs correspond to specific deletions of one (exons 2-7, except exon 6) or two (exons 3 + 4) exons. All these RNA variants are observed in each one of the analyzed RNAs, regardless of origin. In addition, the relative amount of these different variants in ER + tumors is comparable to that measured in ER - tumors and healthy mammary gland tissues. This data suggests that tumor progression is not related to the emergence of any of the ER mRNA variants.