We examined expression of N-methylpurine-DNA glycosylase (MPG), a DNA repair enzyme that removes N-alkylpurine damage, in normal, malignant, and immortalized breast epithelial cells, and breast cancer cell lines (MDA-MB-231, MCF7, T47D). Northern analysis showed increased expression in cancer versus normal breast epithelial cells (2-24-fold). Southern blots revealed no gene amplification or polymorphisms. Immunofluorescence, immunohistochemistry, and Western blot analysis demonstrated increased MPG protein expression in the tumor cells that correlated with elevated glycosylase activity. Since MPG overexpression has been shown to be paradoxically associated with increased susceptibility to DNA damage, up-regulation of this gene may suggest a functional role in breast carcinogenesis.