Transcriptional GATA factors are known lineage selector genes and regulate a variety of biological processes including specification and differentiation of tissues. In the present study, we examined expression profiles of six GATA factor genes in invasive ductal carcinomas (IDC) of the breast using microarray analysis (n = 20) and found that GATA4 expression was closely correlated with recurrence in patients. Because the significance of GATA4 has remained largely unknown in breast carcinoma, we further immunolocalized GATA4 in ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) of the breast (n = 48) and IDC (n = 163). GATA4 immunoreactivity was detected in the nuclei of carcinoma cells and was positive in 27% of DCIS and 31% of IDC cases. GATA4 status was significantly associated with nuclear grade and van Nuys classification in DCIS and was positively associated with distant metastasis, histological grade and HER2 status, but negatively correlated with progesterone receptor labeling index in IDC. Subsequent multivariate analysis demonstrated that GATA4 status was an independent prognostic factor for both disease-free and breast cancer-specific survival of IDC patients. All of these results indicate that GATA4 plays important roles in the progression of breast carcinoma from an early stage and that immunohistochemical GATA4 status is considered a potent prognostic factor in human breast cancer patients.