INTRODUCTION: Cripto is a founding member of the EGF-CFC family, and plays an important role in tumourigenesis, tumour cell proliferation and migration. We aimed to determine the significance of Cripto expression on the survival of patients with breast cancer. METHODS: Immunohistochemical detection of Cripto was performed by using mAb C13 on 120 formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded breast tumour specimens in tissue microarrays. This cohort comprises a series of 120 patients with primary operable breast cancer diagnosed between 1989 and 1995, retrieved from the Concord Repatriation General Hospital breast carcinoma database. RESULTS: Using a cutoff value of 80%, Cripto overexpressed in 57 of the 120 (47.5%) patients. We found significant associations between overexpression of Cripto and the Nottingham Prognostic Index (NPI, p<0.01), histological grade (p<0.01), pathological tumour type (p=0.04), PR (p=0.02) as well as Ki-67 (p=0.02). Univariate analysis reveals that there is a significant correlation between overexpression of Cripto and survival (p=0.0003). Cox regression analysis indicates that the overexpression of Cripto is an independent prognostic factor in breast cancer (HR 2.79, 95%CI 1.20-6.50). CONCLUSION: The unique epitope recognized by mAb C13 is overexpressed on breast tumour tissues. In this series of invasive breast cancers, overexpression of Cripto was more often found in high grade and poor prognosis tumours compared to low grade and good prognosis breast cancers. Moreover, overexpression of Cripto was significantly associated with decreased patient survival.