ARTICLE ABSTRACTChemotherapy remains the mainstay of treatment for advanced breast cancer; however, resistance is an inevitable event for the majority of patients with metastatic disease. Moreover, there is little information available to guide stratification of first-line chemotherapy, crucial given the common development of multidrug resistance. Here, we describe an in vivo screen to interrogate the response to anthracycline-based chemotherapy in a syngeneic metastatic breast cancer model and identify JNK signaling as a key modulator of chemotherapy response. Combining in vitro and in vivo functional analyses, we demonstrate that JNK inhibition both promotes tumor cell cytostasis and blocks activation of the proapoptotic protein Bax, thereby antagonizing chemotherapy-mediated cytotoxicity. To investigate the clinical relevance of this dual role of JNK signaling, we developed a proliferation-independent JNK activity signature and demonstrate high JNK activity to be enriched in triple-negative and basal-like breast cancer subtypes. Consistent with the dual role of JNK signaling in vitro, high-level JNK pathway activation in triple-negative breast cancers is associated both with poor patient outcome in the absence of chemotherapy treatment and, in neoadjuvant clinical studies, is predictive of enhanced chemotherapy response. These data highlight the potential of monitoring JNK activity as early biomarker of response to chemotherapy and emphasize the importance of rational treatment regimes, particularly when combining cytostatic and chemotherapeutic agents. Mol Cancer Ther; 16(9); 1967–78. ©2017 AACR.