Abstract Background Triple negative breast cancers (TNBC) possess cell dedifferentiation characteristics, carry out activities connate to those of cancer stem cells (CSCs) and are associated with increased metastasis, as well as, poor clinical prognosis. The regulatory mechanism of this highly malignant phenotype is still poorly characterized. Accruing evidence support the role of non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) as potent regulators of CSC and metastatic gene expression, with their dysregulation implicated in tumorigenesis and disease progression. Methods In this study, we investigated TNBC metastasis, metastasis-associated genes and potential inhibitory mechanisms using bioinformatics, tissue microarray analyses, immunoblotting, polymerase chain reaction, loss and gain of gene function assays and comparative analyses of data obtained. Results Compared with other breast cancer types, the highly metastatic MDA-MB-231 cells concurrently exhibited increased expression levels of Lysine-specific demethylase 5B protein (KDM5B) and long non-coding RNA (lncRNA), MALAT1, suggesting their functional association. KDM5B-silencing in the TNBC cells correlated with the upregulation of hsa-miR-448 and led to suppression of MALAT1 expression with decreased migration, invasion and clonogenic capacity in vitro, as well as, poor survival in vivo. This projects MALAT1 as a mediator of KDM5B oncogenic potential and highlights the critical role of this microRNA, lncRNA and histone demethylase in cancer cell motility and metastatic colonization. Increased expression of KDM5B correlating with disease progression and poor clinical outcome in breast cancer was reversed by hsa-miR-448. Conclusions Our findings demonstrate the critical role of KDM5B and its negative regulator hsa-miR-448 in TNBC metastasis and progression. Hsa-miR-448 disrupting KDM5B-MALAT1 signalling axis and associated activities in TNBC cells, projects it as a putative therapeutic factor for selective eradication of TNBC cells. Graphical abstract KDM5B, MALAT1 and hsa-miR-448 are active looped components of the epigenetic poculo mortis in aggressive breast cancer.