We have previously identified an oncogenic role of artemin (ARTN), a member of glial cell derived neurotrophic factor family of ligands, in mammary carcinoma. We herein report that ARTN is an estrogen-inducible gene. Meta-analysis of gene expression data sets showed that ARTN expression is positively correlated to estrogen receptor (ER) status in human mammary carcinoma. Furthermore, in patients with ER-positive mammary carcinoma treated with tamoxifen, high ARTN expression is significantly correlated with decreased survival. Forced expression of ARTN in ER-positive human mammary carcinoma cells increased ER transcriptional activity, promoted estrogen-independent growth and produced resistance to tamoxifen and fulvestrant in vitro and to tamoxifen in xenograft models. ARTN-stimulated resistance to tamoxifen and fulvestrant is mediated by increased BCL-2 expression. Conversely, depletion of endogenous ARTN by small-interfering RNA or functional antagonism of ARTN by antibody enhanced the efficacy of antiestrogens. Tamoxifen decreased ARTN expression in tamoxifen-sensitive mammary carcinoma cells whereas ARTN expression was increased in tamoxifen-resistant cells and not affected by tamoxifen treatment. Antibody inhibition of ARTN in tamoxifen-resistant cells improved tamoxifen sensitivity. Functional antagonism of ARTN therefore warrants consideration as an adjuvant therapy to enhance antiestrogen efficacy in ER-positive mammary carcinoma.