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Activin, a member of the TGF-β superfamily, inhibits the proliferation of breast cancer cells. Activin interacts with its type I and type II receptors to induce phosphorylation of intracellular signaling molecules known as Smads. Previous studies showed that mouse ARIP2 can reduce activin signaling by interacting with activin type II receptors (ActRIIs); however, the activity of ARIP2 in breast cancer is still unclear. In this study, we used RT-PCR to obtain a human homologue of mouse ARIP2, human activin receptor-interacting protein 2 (hARIP2). Like murine ARIP2, hARIP2 has a PDZ domain in its NH2-terminal region and can interact specifically with ActRIIs. Overexpression of hARIP2 reduced activin-induced transcriptional activity and enhanced cell proliferation and colony formation in human breast adenocarcinoma MCF-7 cells and MDA-MB-231 cells. However, down-regulation of hARIP2 expression by RNAi enhanced activin-induced transcriptional activity and reduced cell proliferation and colony formation. Immunohistochemistry revealed that hARIP2 was expressed more frequently and much more intensely in malignant breast tissues such as simple carcinoma, invasive ductal carcinoma and mucinous adenocarcinoma than in benign hyperplasia or fibroadenoma cases. These results suggest that hARIP2 is a putative growth-promoting factor involved in breast tumorigenesis and tumor development.