Breast Cancer Metastasis Suppressor 1 (BRMS1) suppresses metastasis of human breast cancer, ovarian cancer and melanoma in athymic mice. Studies have also shown that BRMS1 is significantly downregulated in some breast tumors, especially in metastatic disease. However, the mechanisms which regulate BRMS1 expression are currently unknown. Upon examination of the BRMS1 promoter region by methylation specific PCR (MSP) analysis, we discovered a CpG island (-3477 to -2214), which was found to be hypermethylated across breast cancer cell lines. A panel of 20 patient samples analyzed showed that 45% of the primary tumors and 60% of the matched lymph node metastases, displayed hypermethylation of BRMS1 promoter. Furthermore, we found a direct correlation between the methylation status of the BRMS1 promoter in the DNA isolated from tissues, with the loss of BRMS1 expression assessed by immunohistochemistry. There are several studies investigating the mechanism by which BRMS1 suppresses metastasis; however thus far there is no study that reports the cause(s) of loss of BRMS1 expression in aggressive breast cancer. Here we report for the first time that BRMS1 is a novel target of epigenetic silencing; and aberrant methylation in the BRMS1 promoter may serve as a cause of loss of its expression. © 2008 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.