Chemotherapy is a notable method for the treatment of breast cancer. Numerous genes associated with the sensitivity of cancer to chemotherapy have been found. In recent years, evidence has suggested that a particular structure termed Holliday junction (HJ) plays a crucial role in cancer chemosensitivity. Targeting HJ resolvases, such as structure-specific endonuclease subunit SLX4 (Slx4) and MUS81 structure-specific endonuclease subunit (Mus81), significantly increases the chemosensitivity of tumor cells. Flap endonuclease GEN homolog 1 (GEN1) is a HJ resolvase that belongs to the Rad2/xeroderma pigmentosum complementation group G nuclease family. Whether GEN1 affects the chemosensitivity of tumor cells in a similar manner to Slx4 and Mus81 remains unknown. The aim of the present study was to determine the effect of GEN1 interference on the chemosensitivity of breast cancer cell lines. The investigation of the function of GEN1 was performed using MCF-7 and SKBR3 cells. Short hairpin RNA was used to suppress the expression of GEN1, and western blot analysis and reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction were used to detect gene expression. In addition, a cell counting kit-8 assay was performed to detect the viability of cells and flow cytometry was performed to test apoptosis levels. Suppression of GEN1 in SKBR3 cells effectively increased the sensitivity to the chemotherapeutic drug 5‐fluorouracil (5‐FU), while MCF‐7 cells showed no significant change in sensitivity following GEN1 suppression. However, when GEN1 was targeted in addition to Mus81, the MCF-7 cells also demonstrated a significantly increased sensitivity to 5-FU. In addition, when the level of Mus81 was low, GEN1 expression was increased under a low concentration of 5-FU. The present results suggest that GEN1 may play different roles in different breast cancer cell lines. The function of GEN1 may be affected by the level of Mus81 in the cell line. In addition, GEN1 interference may improve the sensitivity to chemotherapy induced by targeting Mus81 alone.