AIMSIn a study of ductal carcinoma in situ of the breast, we identified five genes at chromosome 17q21.33 that were over-expressed in high grade cases, and showed a correlation between expression and gene copy number. The aim of this study was to investigate potential drivers of genomic amplification at 17q21.33.METHODS:Analysis of high resolution comparative genomic hybridisation and published data specified a minimum region of amplification at 17q21.33. Prohibitin (PHB) expression was examined by immunohistochemistry in 285 invasive breast cancers. Gene copy number was examined by fluorescence in situ hybridisation.RESULTS:The minimum region of amplification at 17q21.33 included ten genes with PHB selected as a candidate driver. Increased PHB expression was associated with higher grade breast cancer and poorer survival. Amplification of PHB was detected in 13 of 235 cases (5.5%) but was not associated with PHB expression. PHB amplification was most common in the ERBB2+ breast cancer subtype, although high expression was most prevalent in basal-like and luminal B cancers.CONCLUSIONS:Amplification at 17q21.33 is a recurrent feature of breast cancer that forms part of a 'firestorm' pattern of genomic aberration. PHB is not a driver of amplification, however PHB may contribute to high grade breast cancer.