Wild-type p53-induced phosphatase (Wip1 or PPM1D) is a serine/threonine protein phosphatase expressed under various stress conditions, which selectively inactivates p38 MAPK. The finding that this gene is amplified in association with frequent gain of 17q21–24 in breast cancers supports its role as a driver oncogene. However, the pathogenetic mechanism of the wip1 gene expression in breast carcinogenesis remains to be elucidated. In this study, we examine Wip1 mRNA and protein expression in 20 breast cancer tissues and six cell lines. We additionally investigate the relationship among Wip1, active p38 MAPK, p53, and p16 proteins. In our experiments, Wip1 mRNA was significantly upregulated in 7 of 20 (35%) invasive breast cancer samples. Overexpression of Wip1 was inversely correlated with that of active (phosphor-) p38 MAPK (P = 0.007). Furthermore, Wip1-overexpressing tumors exhibited no or low levels of p16, which normally accumulates upon p38 MAPK activation (P = 0.057). Loss of p16 expression was not associated with hypermethylation of its promoter or loss of heterozygosity on 9p21. Among the 135 primary breast carcinomas further examined, a significant association was found between the Wip1 overexpression and negative staining for p53 (P value = 0.057), indicating that the tumors are wild-type for p53. This is first report showing that Wip1 overexpression abrogates the homeostatic balance maintained through the p38–p53-Wip1 pathway, and contributes to malignant progression by inactivating wild-type p53 and p38 MAPK as well as decreasing p16 protein levels in human breast tissues.