ARTICLE ABSTRACTTamoxifen resistance of estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancer cells has been linked in part to activation of receptor tyrosine kinases, such as HER2, and the PI3K-AKT pathway. Mucin 1 (MUC1) is aberrantly overexpressed in about 90% of human breast cancers, and the oncogenic MUC1-C subunit is associated with ERα. The present studies using HER2 overexpressing BT-474 breast cancer cells, which are constitutively resistant to tamoxifen, demonstrate that silencing MUC1-C is associated with (i) downregulation of p-HER2 and (ii) sensitivity to tamoxifen-induced growth inhibition and loss of clonogenic survival. In contrast, overexpression of MUC1-C in tamoxifen-sensitive MCF-7 breast cancer cells resulted in upregulation of p-AKT and tamoxifen resistance. We show that MUC1-C forms complexes with ERα on the estrogen-responsive promoter of Rab31 and that MUC1-C blocks tamoxifen-induced decreases in ERα occupancy. MUC1-C also attenuated tamoxifen-induced decreases in (i) recruitment of the coactivator CREB binding protein, (ii) Rab31 promoter activation, and (iii) Rab31 mRNA and protein levels. The importance of MUC1-C is further supported by the demonstration that targeting MUC1-C with the cell-penetrating peptide inhibitor, GO-203, sensitized tamoxifen-resistant cells to tamoxifen treatment. Moreover, we show that targeting MUC1-C in combination with tamoxifen is highly synergistic in the treatment of tamoxifen-resistant breast cancer cells. Combined, these findings indicate that MUC1-C contributes to tamoxifen resistance. Mol Cancer Res; 11(7); 714–23. ©2013 AACR.