Metachronous (MBC) and synchronous bilateral breast tumors (SBC) are mostly distinct primaries, whereas paired primaries and their local recurrences (LRC) share a common origin. Intra-pair gene expression variability in MBC, SBC, and LRC derives from time/tumor microenvironment-related and tumor genetic background-related factors and pairs represents an ideal model for trying to dissect tumor-related from microenvironment-related variability. Pairs of tumors derived from women with SBC (n = 18), MBC (n = 11), and LRC (n = 10) undergoing local-regional treatment were profiled for gene expression; similarity between pairs was measured using an intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) computed for each gene and compared using analysis of variance (ANOVA). When considering biologically unselected genes, the highest correlations were found for primaries and paired LRC, and the lowest for MBC pairs. By instead limiting the analysis to the breast cancer intrinsic genes, correlations between primaries and paired LRC were enhanced, while lower similarities were observed for SBC and MBC. Focusing on stromal-related genes, the ICC values decreased for MBC and were significantly different from SBC. These findings indicate that it is possible to dissect intra-pair gene expression variability into components that are associated with genetic origin or with time and microenvironment by using specific gene subsets. © 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.