Although many estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancers are effectively treated with selective estrogen receptor modulators and down-regulators (SERM/SERD), some are highly resistant. Resistance is more likely if primary cancers are devoid of progesterone receptors (PR-) or have high levels of growth factor activity. In this study, a transgenic mouse line that expresses transforming growth factor-α (NRL-TGFα mice) and that develops ER+/PR- mammary tumors was used to assess the possible effects of (a) therapeutic delivery of the SERM, tamoxifen, or SERD, ICI 182,780 (ICI), on the growth of established tumors and (b) short-term prophylactic tamoxifen administration on the initial development of new mammary tumors. To determine the therapeutic effects of tamoxifen and ICI on the growth of established tumors, mice were exposed to 3 weeks of drug treatment. Neither drug influenced tumor growth or glandular pathology. To determine if early prophylactic tamoxifen could alter tumorigenesis, a 60-day tamoxifen treatment was initiated in 8-week-old mice. Compared with placebo-treated mice, tamoxifen reduced tumor incidence by 50% and significantly decreased the degree of mammary hyperplasia. Prophylactic tamoxifen also significantly extended the life span of tumor-free mice. These data show that in this mouse model, established ER+/PR- mammary tumors are resistant to SERM/SERD treatment but the development of new mammary tumors can be prevented by an early course of tamoxifen. This study validates the utility of NRL-TGFα mice for (a) identifying candidate biomarkers of efficacious tamoxifen chemoprevention and (b) modeling the evolution of tamoxifen resistance.