Several genetic aberrations and gene expression changes have been shown to occur when cells are exposed to various types of radiation. The integrity of DNA depends upon several processes that include DNA damage recognition and repair, replication, transcription and cell cycle regulation. Ionizing radiation has many sources, including radon decay from the soil and X-rays from medical practice. Epidemiological evidence indicates a risk for cancer by inducing genetic alterations through DNA damage, and molecular alterations have been reported in epidemiological studies of the A-bomb survivors. A spontaneously immortalized human breast epithelial cell model, MCF-10F, was used to examine the gene expression profiling of breast cells induced by X-ray and heavy ion exposure, by a cDNA expression array of DNA damage and repair genes. This cell line was exposed to 10, 50, 100 and 200 cGy of either X-rays or heavy ions and gene expression profiles were studied. Results indicated that out of a total of 161 genes, 38 were differentially expressed by X-ray treatment and 24 by heavy ion (Fe+2) treatment. Eight genes were common to both treatments and were confirmed by Northern blot analysis: BRCA1, BIRC2/CIAP1, CENP-E, DDB1, MRE11A, RAD54/ATRX, Wip1 and XPF/ERCC4. A number of candidate genes reported here may be useful molecular biomarkers of radiation exposure in breast cells.