Background Mutations in the CHEK2 gene confer a moderately increased breast cancer risk. The risk for female carriers of the CHEK2* 1100delC mutation is twofold increased. Breast cancer risk for carrier women is higher in a familial breast cancer setting which is due to coinheritance of additional genetic risk factors. This study investigated the occurrence of homozygosity for the CHEK2* 1100delC allele among familial breast cancer cases and the associated breast cancer risk. Methods and results Homozygosity for the CHEK2* 1100delC allele was identified in 8/2554 Dutch independent familial non-BRCA1/2 breast cancer cases. The genotype relative risk for breast cancer of homozygous and heterozygous familial breast cancer cases was 101.34 (95% CI 4.47 to 121 000) and 4.04 (95% CI 0.88 to 21.0), respectively. Female homozygotes appeared to have a greater than twofold increased breast cancer risk compared to familial CHEK2* 1100delC heterozygotes (p = 0.044). These results and the occurrence of multiple primary tumours in 7/10 homozygotes indicate a high cancer risk in homozygous women from non-BRCA1/2 families. Conclusions Intensive breast surveillance is therefore justified in these homozygous women. It is concluded that diagnostic testing for biallelic mutations in CHEK2 is indicated in non-BRCA1/2 breast cancer families, especially in populations with a relatively high prevalence of deleterious mutations in CHEK2.