Abstract Background The aim of this study was to identify BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations in the Estonian population. We analyzed genetic data and questionnaire from 64 early-onset (< 45 y) breast cancer patients, 47 familial cases (patients with breast or ovarian cancer and a case of these cancers in the family), and 33 predictive cases (patients without breast or ovarian cancer, with a family history of such diseases) from Estonia for mutations in the BRCA1 gene. A sub-set of familial cases and predictive cases were also analyzed for mutations in the BRCA2 gene. Methods For mutation detection, we used the Polymerase Chain Reaction-Single Stranded Conformation Polymorphism Heteroduplex Analysis (PCR-SSCP-HD), followed by direct DNA sequencing. Results We identified three clinically important mutations in the BRCA1 gene, including seven occurrences of the c.5382insC mutation, three of c.4154delA, and one instance of c.3881_3882delGA. We also detected six polymorphisms: c.2430T>C, c.3232A>G, c.4158A>G, c.4427T>C, c.4956A>G, and c.5002T>C. Four sequence alterations were detected in introns: c.560+64delT, c.560+ [36-38delCTT, 52-63del12], c.666-58delT, and c.5396+60insGTATTCCACTCC. In the BRCA2 gene, two clinically important mutations were found: c.9610C>T and c.6631delTTAAATG. Additionally, two alterations (c.7049G>T and c.7069+80delTTAG) with unknown clinical significance were detected. Conclusions In our dataset, the overall frequency of clinically important BRCA1 mutations in early-onset patients, familial cases, and predictive testing was 7.6% (144 cases, 11 mutation carriers). Pathogenic mutations were identified in 4 of the 64 early-onset breast cancer cases (6.3%). In familial cases, clinically important mutations in the BRCA1 gene were found in 6 of the 47 individuals analyzed (12.8%). In predictive cases, 1 clinically important mutation was detected in 33 individuals studied (3%). The occurrence of clinically important mutations in BRCA2 in familial cases of breast cancer was 2 of the 16 individuals analyzed (12.5%).