Stathmin is a highly conserved cytosolic phosphoprotein that destabilizes microtubules. Stathmin, which has been proposed as a relay protein integrating diverse cell signalling pathways, acts in vitro as a tubulin-sequestering protein, and its activity is dramatically reduced by phosphorylation. Interestingly, stathmin expression and phosphorylation are regulated during the control of cell growth and differentiation, and there is much evidence suggesting that in vivo stathmin plays a role in the control of microtubule dynamics during mitosis. Stathmin may thus be considered as one of the key regulators of cell division. We examined 50 human primary breast tumours for stathmin mRNA and protein expression and screened for abnormalities in the chromosome region harbouring the stathmin gene. Overexpression of stathmin was found in 15 tumours (30%). At the present stage, no clear correlation emerged between stathmin expression and several prognosis markers. Interestingly, perfect matching was observed between stathmin mRNA overexpression, protein overexpression and strong staining for stathmin on paraffin-embedded tumour sections when specimens were available. Furthermore, a tentative link between loss of heterozygosity (LOH) in the 1p32-1pter region and stathmin overexpression was observed. Our results suggest that stathmin might play a role in breast carcinogenesis and that stathmin-overexpressing tumours may represent a new subtype of breast cancer.