Recently PTEN/MMAC1, a candidate tumor suppressor gene, was isolated from chromosome 10q23-24 and somatic mutations of this gene were detected in several malignancies including brain, prostate, and breast tumors. To investigate further the potential role of this gene in mammary carcinogenesis, we examined 69 primary breast cancers for mutations in PTEN/MMAC1 by means of polymerase chain reaction single-strand conformation polymorphism and sequencing analysis. We detected only one somatic missense mutation, a change from T to C at codon 59 (TCA to CCA) resulting in substitution of Pro for Ser in the predicted protein. This site is located outside of phosphatase or phosphate-acceptor motifs, but this codon encodes a residue that is conserved in homologous proteins, tensin and auxilin and is likely to be crucial for normal function of PTEN/MMAC1. Among the 69 tumors examined, three low-frequency polymorphisms were found as well, one in the non-coding region of exon 1 and one each in introns 2 and 7. Our results suggested that mutation of the PTEN/MMAC1 gene is not a major factor in the development of most primary breast cancers.