Several markers identify cancer stem cell-like populations, but little is known about the functional roles of stem cell surface receptors in tumor progression. Here, we show that the endothelial protein C receptor (EPCR), a stem cell marker in hematopoietic, neuronal and epithelial cells, is crucial for breast cancer growth in the orthotopic microenvironment of the mammary gland. Mice with a hypomorphic allele of EPCR show reduced tumor growth in the PyMT-model of spontaneous breast cancer development and deletion of EPCR in established PyMT tumor cells significantly attenuates transplanted tumor take and growth. We find expansion of EPCR(+) cancer stem cell-like populations in aggressive, mammary fat pad-enhanced human triple negative breast cancer cells. In this model, EPCR-expressing cells have markedly increased mammosphere- and tumor-cell initiating activity compared to another stable progenitor-like subpopulation present at comparable frequency. We show that receptor blocking antibodies to EPCR specifically attenuate in vivo tumor growth initiated by either EPCR(+) cells or the heterogenous mixture of EPCR(+) and EPCR(-) cells. Furthermore, we have identified tumor associated macrophages as a major source for recognized ligands of EPCR, suggesting a novel mechanism by which cancer stem cell-like populations are regulated by innate immune cells in the tumor microenvironment.