Chemokines are relevant molecules in shaping the tumor microenvironment, although their contributions to tumorigenesis are not fully understood.Westudied the influence of the chemokine CX3CL1/fractalkine in de novo breast cancer formation using HER2/neu transgenic mice. CX3CL1 expression was downmodulated in HER2/neu tumors, yet, paradoxically, adenovirus-mediated CX3CL1 expression in the tumor milieu enhanced mammary tumor numbers in a dose-dependent manner. Increased tumor multiplicity was not a consequence of CX3CL1- induced metastatic dissemination of the primary tumor, although CX3CL1 induced epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in breast cancer cells in vitro. Instead, CX3CL1 triggered cell proliferation by induction of ErbB receptors through the proteolytic shedding of an ErbB ligand. This effect was important insofar as mammary tumorigenesis was delayed and tumor multiplicity was reduced by genetic deletion of CX3CL1 in HER2/neu mice, but not in polyoma middle T-antigen oncomice. Our findings support the conclusion that CX3CL1 acts as a positive modifier of breast cancer in concert with ErbB receptors.