Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is the most aggressive breast cancer subtype with the worst prognosis and few effective therapies. Here we identified MS023, an inhibitor of type I protein arginine methyltransferases (PRMTs), which has antitumor growth activity in TNBC. Pathway analysis of TNBC cell lines indicates that the activation of interferon responses before and after MS023 treatment is a functional biomarker and determinant of response, and these observations extend to a panel of human-derived organoids. Inhibition of type I PRMT triggers an interferon response through the antiviral defense pathway with the induction of double-stranded RNA, which is derived, at least in part, from inverted repeat Alu elements. Together, our results represent a shift in understanding the antitumor mechanism of type I PRMT inhibitors and provide a rationale and biomarker approach for the clinical development of type I PRMT inhibitors. [Figure not available: see fulltext.].