The objective of this study was to develop and evaluate the anticancer activity and the safety of a combinational drug delivery system using polyamidoamine (PAMAM) dendrimer-coated iron oxide nanoparticles for doxorubicin and poly I:C delivery in vitro. Dendrimer-coated magnetic nanoparticles (DcMNPs) are suitable for drug delivery system as nanocarriers with their following properties, such as surface functional groups, symmetry perfection, internal cavities, nano-size and magnetization. These nanoparticles could be targeted to the tumor site under a magnetic field since they have a magnetic core. DcMNPs were found as a convenient vehicle for targeted doxorubicin delivery in cancer therapy. Poly (I:C) binding on doxorubicin loaded DcMNPs (DcMNPs-Dox) was reported for the first time in the literature. It was also demonstrated that loading of doxorubicin into the cavities of DcMNPs increases the binding efficiency of poly (I:C) to the surface functional groups of dendrimer up to 10 times. When we compare the in vitro cytotoxic properties of doxorubicin, poly (I:C) and poly (I:C) bound doxorubicin loaded DcMNPs (PIC-DcMNPs-Dox), it was observed that PIC-DcMNPs-Dox show the highest cytotoxic effect by passing the cell resistance mechanisms on doxorubicin resistant MCF7 (MCF7/Dox) cells. Results demonstrated that applying PIC-DcMNPs-Dox would improve the efficacy by increasing the biocompatibility of system in blood stream and the toxicity inside tumor cells. These results provide invaluable information and new insight for the design and optimization of a novel combinational drug delivery system for targeted cancer therapy. (C) 2014 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.