Cyclin A has in some studies been associated with poor breast cancer survival, although all studies have not confirmed this. Its prognostic significance in breast cancer needs evaluation in larger studies. Tissue microarray (TMA) technique allows a simultaneous analysis of large amount of tumours on a single microscopic slide. This makes a rapid screening of molecular markers in large amount of tumours possible. Because only a small tissue sample of each tumour is punched on an array, the question has arisen about the representativeness of TMA when studying markers that are expressed in only a small proportion of cells. For this reason, we wanted to compare cyclin A expression on TMA and on traditional large sections. Two breast cancer TMAs were constructed of 200 breast tumours diagnosed between 1997-1998. TMA slides and traditional large section slides of these 200 tumours were stained with cyclin A antibody and analysed by two independent readers. The reproducibility of the two readers' results was good or even very good, with kappa values 0.71-0.87. The agreement of TMA and large section results was good with kappa value 0.62-0.75. Cyclin A overexpression was significantly (P<0.001) associated with oestrogen receptor and progesterone receptor negativity and high grade both on TMA and large sections. Cyclin A overexpression was significantly associated with poor metastasis-free survival both on TMA and large sections. The relative risks for metastasis were similar on TMA and large sections. This study suggests that TMA technique could be useful to study histological correlations and prognostic significance of cyclin A on breast cancer on a large scale.