The patterns of the occurrence of breast cancer in 11 high-risk families were evaluated by segregation and linkage analysis. These patterns were consistent with the hypothesis that increased susceptibility to breast cancer was inherited as an autosomal dominant allele with high penetrance in women. The postulated susceptibility allele in these families may be chromosomally linked to the glutamate-pyruvate transaminase (E.C., alanine aminotransferase) locus. Confirmation of this linkage in other families would establish the existence of a gene increasing susceptibility to breast cancer. Since there is no association in the general population between a woman's glutamate-pyruvate transaminase genotype and her cancer risk, the glutamate-pyruvate transaminase linkage cannot be used as a screening test for breast cancer.