Transcriptome profiling studies suggest that a large fraction of the genome is transcribed and many transcripts function independent of their protein coding potential. The relevance of noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) in normal physiological processes and in tumorigenesis is increasingly recognized. Here, we describe consistent and significant differences in the distribution of sense and antisense transcripts between normal and neoplastic breast tissues. Many of the differentially expressed antisense transcripts likely represent long ncRNAs. A subset of genes that mainly generate antisense transcripts in normal but not cancer cells is involved in essential metabolic processes. These findings suggest fundamental differences in global RNA regulation between normal and cancer cells that might play a role in tumorigenesis. Global strand-specific transcriptome profilings of 2 samples in cancer and 1 sample in normal from clinical breast tissue using asymmetrical strand-specific analysis of gene expression (ASSAGE).