Breast tumorigenesis proceeds through an accumulation of specific genetic alteration. Breast malignant transformation is dependent on not only the rate of cell production but also on apoptosis, a genetically programed process of autonomous cell death. We investigated whether breast tumorigenesis involved an altered susceptibility to apoptosis and proliferation by examining normal breast epithelium and breast cancer samples. We found there is a great inhibition of spontaneous apoptosis in breast cancer cells compared with normal breast epithelium. The inhibition of apoptosis in breast cancer may contribute to neoplastic transformation.