BACKGROUND: Low p27 and high Skp2 immunoreactivity are associated with a poor prognosis and other poor prognostic features including resistant phenotypes and antiestrogen drug resistance. We investigated these proteins in two International Breast Cancer Study Group trials studying node-negative early breast cancer. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Trial VIII compared chemotherapy followed by goserelin with either modality alone in premenopausal patients. Trial IX compared chemotherapy followed by tamoxifen with tamoxifen alone in postmenopausal patients. Central Pathology Office assessed p27 and Skp2 expression in the primary tumor by immunohistochemistry among 1631 (60%) trial patients. RESULTS: p27 and Skp2 were inversely related; 13% of tumors expressed low p27 and high Skp2. Low p27 and high Skp2 were associated with unfavorable prognostic factors including larger size and higher grade tumors, absence of estrogen receptor and progesterone receptor, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 overexpression and high Ki-67 (each P < 0.05). Low p27 and high Skp2 were not associated with disease-free survival (P = 0.42 and P = 0.48, respectively). The relative effects of chemo-endocrine versus endocrine therapy were similar regardless of p27 or Skp2. CONCLUSIONS: We confirm the association of low p27 and high Skp2 with other poor prognostic features, but found no predictive or prognostic value, and therefore do not recommend routine determination of p27 and Skp2 for node-negative breast cancer.