Heat shock protein 27 (hsp27) belongs to the family of heat shock proteins and is thought to be involved in thermotolerance, cell proliferation, drug resistance, and chaperone processes. The aim of this study was to investigate whether hsp27 levels are correlated with clinical outcome in axillary lymph node-negative breast cancer patients. We describe a Western blot study measuring hsp27 levels in 425 patients and an immunohistochemistry (IHC) study analyzing 788 patients. Results obtained by both methods were concordant. Univariate survival analysis was performed considering hsp27 either as an optimally dichotomized variable or as a continuous variable. Additional data include age at biopsy, tumor size, estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor status, tumor ploidy and percentage of cells in S phase, and adjuvant therapy. hsp27 levels correlated positively with ER status (P = 0.0001 in Western blot and IHC study), progesterone receptor status (P = 0.0001 in Western blot and IHC study), and aneuploidy (Western blot study, P = 0.0012; IHC study, P = 0.0004) but not with tumor size (Western blot study, P = 0.69; IHC, P = 0.53) or S phase (Western blot study, P = 0.19; IHC study, P = 0.38). Overall, there was no relationship between hsp27 expression and disease-free survival (Western blot study, P = 0.70/0.54; IHC, P = 0.47/0.30) or overall survival (Western blot study, P = 0.16/0.15; IHC, P = 0.46/0.78). Exploratory subset analyses defined by ER status and use of adjuvant treatment indicated that in ER+/untreated patients, high hsp27 levels correlated modestly with shorter disease-free survival (Western blot, P = 0.04/0.04; IHC, P = 0.11/0. 03). hsp27 is not a useful prognostic marker for the clinic in axillary lymph node-negative patients. However, the finding of modest prognostic value of hsp27 in the subgroup of ER+/untreated patients raises new questions about the biological function of hsp27 in breast cancer.