Aim of the study The tumor metastases targeting ruthenium complex NAMI-A synergistically improves the activity of gemcitabine in combination therapies. High-throughput screening was used to identify other potential drug combinations from a library of FDA approved drugs. Doxorubicin was identified as a hit compound and was therefore evaluated in combination with NAMI-A in vitro and in a preclinical in vivo model. Results High-throughput screening identified eight structurally diverse compounds that synergize with NAMI-A including doxorubicin. The combination index on MCF-7 cells showed synergism as the concentration of NAMI-A increases independent of the doxorubicin concentration. In MCa mammary carcinoma of CBA mice, NAMI-A (35 mg/kg/day i.p. on days 7-12) followed by doxorubicin (10 mg/kg i.p. on day 16), significantly increased the effects of the individual drugs on metastases with 70 % animals resulting free of macroscopically detectable tumor nodules in the lungs at sacrifice. NAMI-A, unlike doxorubicin, cured 60 % of the treated mice but the combination therapy was toxic to the animals. Conclusions The combined therapy of NAMI-A with doxorubicin synergizes on lung metastasis in a preclinical mouse model. The combination therapy at the maximum tolerated doses of the two drugs is toxic. Hence, this combination is not suitable for clinical studies using maximum tolerated doses.