Annexins are a family of structurally related, water-soluble proteins that have calcium- and phospholipid-binding domains. Annexin I is thought to be involved in cell proliferation and differentiation and has recently been shown to be expressed on the surfaces of lymphoma cells where it acts as an endothelial cell adhesion molecule. To evaluate the expression of annexin I in relation to human breast cancer development and progression we used breast biopsy tissues. Immunohistochemical analysis of annexin I in paraffin-embedded ductal epithelial cells of various human breast tissues indicated that this annexin was not demonstrable in the ductal luminal cells of normal breast tissues (n = 11) and benign tumors (n = 10) (except for one ductal adenoma) but was generally expressed in various types of breast cancers, including noninvasive ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), invasive and metastatic breast tumors (n = 33). The results suggest that annexin I expression might correlate with malignant breast cancer progression but it is most likely involved at an early stage of human breast cancer development.