We tested the hypothesis that allosteric Akt inhibitor MK-2206 inhibits tumor growth, and that PTEN/PIK3CA mutations confer MK-2206 sensitivity.
MK-2206 effects on cell signaling were assessed in vitro and in vivo. Its antitumor efficacy was assessed in vitro in a panel of cancer cell lines with differing PIK3CA and PTEN status. Its in vivo efficacy was tested as a single agent and in combination with paclitaxel.
MK-2206 inhibited Akt signaling and cell-cycle progression, and increased apoptosis in a dose-dependent manner in breast cancer cell lines. Cell lines with PTEN or PIK3CA mutations were significantly more sensitive to MK-2206; however, several lines with PTEN/PIK3CA mutations were MK-2206 resistant. siRNA knockdown of PTEN in breast cancer cells increased Akt phosphorylation concordant with increased MK-2206 sensitivity. Stable transfection of PIK3CA E545K or H1047R mutant plasmids into normal-like MCF10A breast cells enhanced MK-2206 sensitivity. Cell lines that were less sensitive to MK-2206 had lower ratios of Akt1/Akt2 and had less growth inhibition with Akt siRNA knockdown. In PTEN-mutant ZR75-1 breast cancer xenografts, MK-2206 treatment inhibited Akt signaling, cell proliferation, and tumor growth. In vitro, MK-2206 showed a synergistic interaction with paclitaxel in MK-2206–sensitive cell lines, and this combination had significantly greater antitumor efficacy than either agent alone in vivo.
MK-2206 has antitumor activity alone and in combination with chemotherapy. This activity may be greater in tumors with PTEN loss or PIK3CA mutation, providing a strategy for patient enrichment in clinical trials.
Motivation: Network inference approaches are widely used to shed light on regulatory interplay between molecular players such as genes and proteins. Biochemical processes underlying networks of interest (e.g. gene regulatory or protein signalling networks) are generally nonlinear. In many settings, knowledge is available concerning relevant chemical kinetics. However, existing network inference methods for continuous, steady-state data are typically rooted in statistical formulations, which do not exploit chemical kinetics to guide inference.
Results: Herein, we present an approach to network inference for steady-state data that is rooted in non-linear descriptions of biochemical mechanism. We use equilibrium analysis of chemical kinetics to obtain functional forms that are in turn used to infer networks using steady-state data. The approach we propose is directly applicable to conventional steady-state gene expression or proteomic data and does not require knowledge of either network topology or any kinetic parameters. We illustrate the approach in the context of protein phosphorylation networks, using data simulated from a recent mechanistic model and proteomic data from cancer cell lines. In the former, the true network is known and used for assessment, whereas in the latter, results are compared against known biochemistry. We find that the proposed methodology is more effective at estimating network topology than methods based on linear models.
Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
Cell lines are an important tool in understanding all aspects of cancer growth, development, metastasis, and tumor cell death. There has been a dramatic increase in the number of cell lines and diversity of the cancers they represent; however, misidentification and cross-contamination of cell lines can lead to erroneous conclusions. One method that has gained favor for authenticating cell lines is the use of short tandem repeats (STR) to generate a unique DNA profile. The challenge in validating cell lines is the requirement to compare the large number of existing STR profiles against cell lines of interest, particularly when considering that the profiles of many cell lines have drifted over time and original samples are not available. We report here methods that analyze the variations and the proportional changes extracted from tetra-nucleotide repeat regions in the STR analysis. This technique allows a paired match between a target cell line and a reference database of cell lines to find cell lines that match within a user designated percentage cut-off quality matrix. Our method accounts for DNA instability and can suggest whether the target cell lines are misidentified or unstable.
Short Tandem Repeat (STR); Cell Line Validation
The hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) and its receptor, the transmembrane tyrosine kinase cMET, promote cell proliferation, survival, motility, and invasion as well as morphogenic changes that stimulate tissue repair and regeneration in normal cells but can be co-opted during tumor growth. MET overexpression, with or without gene amplification, has been reported in a variety of human cancers, including breast, lung, and GI malignancies. Furthermore, high levels of HGF and/or cMET correlate with poor prognosis in several tumor types, including breast, ovarian, cervical, gastric, head and neck, and non–small-cell lung cancers. Gene amplification and protein overexpression of cMET drive resistance to epidermal growth factor receptor family inhibitors, both in preclinical models and in patients. It is increasingly apparent that the HGF-cMET axis signaling network is complex, and rational combinatorial therapy is needed for optimal clinical efficacy. Better understanding of HGF-cMET axis signaling and the mechanism of action of HGF-cMET inhibitors, along with the identification of biomarkers of response and resistance, will lead to more effective targeting of this pathway for cancer therapy.
Phosphorylation and activation of Akt1 is a crucial signaling event that promotes adipogenesis. However, neither the complex multistep process that leads to activation of Akt1 through phosphorylation at Thr308 and Ser473 nor the mechanism by which Akt1 stimulates adipogenesis is fully understood. We found that the BSD domain–containing signal transducer and Akt interactor (BSTA) promoted phosphorylation of Akt1 at Ser473 in various human and murine cells, and we uncovered a function for the BSD domain in BSTA-Akt1 complex formation. The mammalian target of rapamycin complex 2 (mTORC2) facilitated the phosphorylation of BSTA and its association with Akt1, and the BSTA-Akt1 interaction promoted the association of mTORC2 with Akt1 and phosphorylation of Akt1 at Ser473 in response to growth factor stimulation. Furthermore, analyses of bsta gene-trap murine embryonic stem cells revealed an essential function for BSTA and phosphorylation of Akt1 at Ser473 in promoting adipocyte differentiation, which required suppression of the expression of the gene encoding the transcription factor FoxC2. These findings indicate that BSTA is a molecular switch that promotes phosphorylation of Akt1 at Ser473 and reveal an mTORC2-BSTA-Akt1-FoxC2–mediated signaling mechanism that is critical for adipocyte differentiation.
The Hippo pathway is crucial in organ size control and its dysregulation contributes to tumorigenesis. However, upstream signals that regulate the mammalian Hippo pathway have remained elusive. Here we report that the Hippo pathway is regulated by G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) signaling. Serum-borne lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) and sphingosine 1-phosphophate (S1P) act through G12/13-coupled receptors to inhibit the Hippo pathway kinases Lats1/2 thereby activating YAP and TAZ transcription co-activators, which are oncoproteins repressed by Lats1/2. YAP and TAZ are involved in LPA-induced gene expression, cell migration, and proliferation. In contrast, stimulation of Gs-coupled receptors by glucagon or epinephrine activates Lats1/2 kinase activity, thereby inhibiting YAP function. Thus, GPCR signaling can either activate or inhibit the Hippo-YAP pathway depending on the coupled G-protein. Our study identifies extracellular diffusible signals that modulate the Hippo pathway and also establishes the Hippo-YAP pathway as a critical signaling branch downstream of GPCR.
Patients with ovarian cancer are at high risk of tumor recurrence. Prediction of therapy outcome may provide therapeutic avenues to improve patient outcomes. Using reverse-phase protein arrays, we generated ovarian carcinoma protein expression profiles on 412 cases from TCGA and constructed a PRotein-driven index of OVARian cancer (PROVAR). PROVAR significantly discriminated an independent cohort of 226 high-grade serous ovarian carcinomas into groups of high risk and low risk of tumor recurrence as well as short-term and long-term survivors. Comparison with gene expression–based outcome classification models showed a significantly improved capacity of the protein-based PROVAR to predict tumor progression. Identification of protein markers linked to disease recurrence may yield insights into tumor biology. When combined with features known to be associated with outcome, such as BRCA mutation, PROVAR may provide clinically useful predictions of time to tumor recurrence.
Once stimulated, the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) undergoes self-phosphorylation, which, on the one hand, instigates signaling cascades, and on the other hand, recruits CBL ubiquitin ligases, which mark EGFRs for degradation. Using RNA interference screens, we identified a deubiquitinating enzyme, Cezanne-1, that opposes receptor degradation and enhances EGFR signaling. These functions require the catalytic and ubiquitin-binding domains of Cezanne-1, and they involve physical interactions and trans-phosphorylaton of Cezanne-1 by EGFR. In line with the ability of Cezanne-1 to augment EGF-induced growth and migration signals, the enzyme is overexpressed in breast cancer. Congruently, the corresponding gene is amplified in approximately one third of mammary tumors, and high transcript levels predict an aggressive disease course. In conclusion, deubiquitination by Cezanne-1 curtails degradation of growth factor receptors, thereby promotes oncogenic growth signals.
gene amplification; deubiquitination; endocytosis; growth factor
To assess the prognostic value of EGFR molecular characteristics of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC).
Patients and Methods
HNSCC tumors from patients prospectively enrolled in either an Early Detection Research Network (EDRN) study and treated with surgery without an EGFR-targeted agent (N=154) or enrolled in a chemoradiation trial involving the EGFR-targeted antibody cetuximab (N=39) were evaluated for EGFR gene amplification by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and EGFR protein by immunohistochemical (IHC) staining. Fresh-frozen tumors (EDRN) were also evaluated for EGFR protein and site-specific phosphorylation at Y992 and Y1068 using reverse-phase protein array (RPPA) (n=67). Tumor (n=50) EGFR and EGFRvIII mRNA levels were quantified using real-time PCR.
EGFR expression by IHC was significantly higher in the EDRN tumors with EGFR gene amplification (P<0.001), and a similar trend was noted in the cetuximab-treated cohort. In the EDRN and cetuximab-treated cohorts elevated EGFR by IHC was associated with reduced survival (p=0.019 and p=0.06, respectively). Elevated expression of total EGFR and EGFR PY1068 were independently significantly associated with reduced progression-free survival in the EDRN cohort (HR=2.75; 95% CI=1.26–6.00 and HR=3.29; 95% CI=1.34–8.14, respectively).
In two independent HNSCC cohorts treated with or without cetuximab, tumor EGFR levels were indicative of survival. Tumor EGFR PY1068 levels provided prognostic information independent of total EGFR.
epidermal growth factor receptor; receptor tyrosine kinase; site-specific phosphorylation; prognosis; head and neck cancer
We sought to determine whether PI3K pathway mutation or activation state and rapamycin-induced feedback-loop activation of Akt is associated with rapamycin sensitivity or resistance.
Cancer cell lines were tested for rapamycin-sensitivity, Akt phosphorylation and mTOR target inhibition. Mice injected with breast or neuroendocrine cancer cells and patients with neuroendocrine tumor (NET) were treated with rapalogs, and Akt phosphorylation was assessed.
31 cell lines were rapamycin-sensitive (RS) and 12 were relatively rapamycin-resistant (RR; IC50>100 nM). Cells with PIK3CA and/or PTEN mutations were more likely to be RS (p=0.0123). Akt phosphorylation (S473 and T308) was significantly higher in RS cells (p<0.0001). Rapamycin led to a significantly greater pathway inhibition and greater increase in p-Akt T308 (p<0.0001) and p-Akt S473 (p=0.0009) in RS cells. Rapamycin and everolimus significantly increased Akt phosphorylation but inhibited growth in an in vivo NET model (BON). In patients with NETs treated with everolimus and octreotide, progression-free survival correlated with p-Akt T308 in pretreatment (R=0.4762, p=0.0533) and on-treatment tumor biopsies (R=0.6041, p=0.0102). Patients who had a documented partial response were more likely to have an increase in p-Akt T308 with treatment compared to non-responders (p=0.0146).
PIK3CA/PTEN genomic aberrations and high p-Akt levels are associated with rapamycin sensitivity in vitro. Rapamycin-mediated Akt activation is greater in RS cells, with a similar observation in patients with clinical responses on exploratory biomarker analysis; thus feedback-loop activation of Akt is not a marker of resistance but rather may function as an indicator of rapamycin activity.
Akt; mTOR; rapamycin sensitivity; RPPA; everolimus; pharmacodynamic markers
A central and unresolved question in cancer is how deregulated signaling leads to acquisition of an invasive cellular phenotype. Here, we modeled the invasive transition as a theoretical switch between focal adhesions and extracellular matrix (ECM)-degrading invadopodia and built molecular interaction network models of each structure. To identify upstream regulatory hubs, we added first degree binding partners and applied graph theoretic analyses. Comparison of the results to clustered reverse phase protein array signaling data from head and neck carcinomas led us to choose phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) and protein kinase C alpha (PKCα) for further analysis. Consistent with a previous report, PI3K activity promoted both the formation and activity of invadopodia. Furthermore, PI3K induction of invadopodia was increased by overexpression of SH2 domain-containing inositol 5′-phosphatase 2 (SHIP2), suggesting that a major part of the mechanism is synthesis of PI(3,4,5)P3, a precursor for PI(3,4)P2, which promotes invadopodia formation. Knockdown of PKCα led to divergent effects on invadopodia formation, depending on the activation state of PI3K. Loss of PKCα inhibited invadopodia formation in cells with wild-type PI3K pathway status. Conversely, in cells with either activating PI3K mutants or lacking the endogenous opposing enzyme phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN), PKCα knockdown increased invadopodia formation. Investigation of the mechanism revealed that a negative feedback loop from PKCα dampened PI3K activity and invasive behavior in cells with genetic overactivation of the PI3K pathway. These studies demonstrate the potential of network modeling as a discovery tool and identify PI3K and PKCα as critical interacting regulators of invasive behavior.
The interaction of autotaxin with its substrates leads to the production of lysophosphatidic acids (LPA), bioactive lipids with an emerging prominent role in inflammation and cancer. Two papers in this issue tell the previously unknown story of autotaxin, from substrate discrimination to highly efficient local delivery of LPA to target receptors.
To examine gene expression differences between pre- and post-NST specimens of breast cancers and identify biological changers that may lead to new therapeutic insights.
Gene expression data from pre-chemotherapy fine needle aspiration specimens were compared to resected residual cancers in 21 patients after 4-6 months of NST. We removed stroma-associated genes to minimize confounding effects. PAM50 was used to assign molecular class. Paired t-test and gene set analysis were used to identify differentially expressed genes and pathways.
The ER and HER2 status based on mRNA expression remained stable in all but two cases and there were no changes in proliferation metrics (Ki67 and PCNA expression). Molecular class changed in 8 cases (33.3%) usually to normal-like class and which was associated with low residual cancer cell cellularity. The expression of 200-600 probe sets changed between baseline and post-NST samples. In basal-like cancers, pathways driven by increased expression of PI3K, small G proteins and CAMK2 and energy metabolism were enriched while immune cell-derived and the sonic hedgehog pathways were depleted in residual cancer. In non-basal-like breast cancers, notch signaling and energy metabolism (e.g. fatty acid synthesis) were enriched and sonic hedgehog signaling and immune-related pathways were depleted in residual cancer. There was no increase in epithelial mesenchymal transition or cancer stem cell signatures.
Our data indicates that energy metabolism related processes are up-regulated and immune related signals are depleted in residual cancers. Targeting these biological processes may represent promising adjuvant treatment strategies for patients with residual cancer.
Breast Cancer; Neaodjuvant chemotherapy; Gene expression; Residual disease
The PI3K/mTOR-pathway is the most commonly dysregulated pathway in epithelial cancers and represents an important target for cancer therapeutics. Here we show that dual inhibition of PI3K/mTOR in ovarian cancer-spheroids leads to death of inner matrix-deprived cells, whereas matrix-attached cells are resistant. This matrix-associated resistance is mediated by drug-induced upregulation of cellular survival programs that involve both FOXO-regulated transcription and cap-independent translation. Inhibition of any one of several upregulated proteins, including Bcl-2, EGFR, or IGF1R, abrogates resistance to PI3K/mTOR inhibition. These results demonstrate that acute adaptive responses to PI3K/mTOR inhibition in matrix-attached cells resemble well-conserved stress responses to nutrient and growth factor deprivation. Bypass of this resistance mechanism through rational design of drug combinations could significantly enhance PI3K-targeted drug efficacy.
Aberrant endocytosis, vesicle targeting, and receptor recycling represent emerging hallmarks of cancer. In this issue of the JCI, Zhang and colleagues demonstrate that RAB-coupling protein (RCP; also known as RAB11FIP1) is a “driver” of the 8p11–12 amplicon in human breast cancer and mouse xenograft models of mammary carcinogenesis (see the related article beginning on page 2171). Their finding that RAB GTPase function enables genomic amplification to confer aggressiveness to mammary tumors adds significantly to the body of evidence supporting pivotal roles for receptor trafficking in the proliferation and metastasis of cancer.
Lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) acts through the cell surface G protein–coupled receptors, LPA1, LPA2, or LPA3, to elicit a wide range of cellular responses. It is present at high levels in intraperitoneal effusions of human ovarian cancer increasing cell survival, proliferation, and motility as well as stimulating production of neovascularizing factors. LPA2 and LPA3 and enzymes regulating the production and degradation of LPA are aberrantly expressed by ovarian cancer cells, but the consequences of these expression changes in ovarian cancer cells were unknown.
Expression of LPA1, LPA2, or LPA3 was inhibited or increased in ovarian cancer cells using small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and lentivirus constructs, respectively. We measured the effects of changes in LPA receptor expression on cell proliferation (by crystal violet staining), cell motility and invasion (using Boyden chambers), and cytokines (interleukin 6 [IL-6], interleukin 8 [IL-8], and vascular endothelial growth factor [VEGF]) production by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The role of LPA receptors in tumor growth, ascites formation, and cytokine production was assessed in a mouse xenograft model. All statistical tests were two-sided.
SKOV-3 cells with increased expression of LPA receptors showed increased invasiveness, whereas siRNA knockdown inhibited both migration (P < .001, Student t test) and invasion. Knockdown of the LPA2 or LPA3 receptors inhibited the production of IL-6, IL-8, and VEGF in SKOV-3 and OVCAR-3 cells. SKOV-3 xenografts expressing LPA receptors formed primary tumors of increased size and increased ascites volume. Invasive tumors in the peritoneal cavity occurred in 75% (n = 4) of mice injected with LPA1 expressing SKOV-3 and 80% (n = 5) of mice injected with LPA2 or LPA3 expressing SKOV-3 cells. Metastatic tumors expressing LPA1, LPA2, and LPA3 were identified in the liver, kidney, and pancreas; tumors expressing LPA2 and LPA3 were detected in skeletal muscle; and tumors expressing LPA2 were also found in the cervical lymph node and heart. The percent survival of mice with tumors expressing LPA2 or LPA3 was reduced in comparison with animals with tumors expressing β-galactosidase.
Expression of LPA2 or LPA3 during ovarian carcinogenesis contributes to ovarian cancer aggressiveness, suggesting that the targeting of LPA production and action may have potential for the treatment of ovarian cancer.
Elafin is an elastase-specific inhibitor with increased transcription in normal mammary epithelial cells compared to mammary carcinoma cells. In this report, we test the hypothesis that inhibition of elastase, through induction of elafin, leads to inhibition of human breast cancer cell viability and, therefore, predicts survival in breast cancer patients.
Panels of normal and immortalized breast epithelial cells, along with breast carcinoma cells, were used to examine the impact of adenoviral-mediated elafin expression or shRNA-mediated inhibition of elastase on the growth of cells and xenografts in nude mice. To determine the prognostic significance of decreased elafin in patients with invasive breast cancer, previously published gene array datasets were interrogated.
Elafin expression had no effect on non-tumorigenic cells but resulted in marked inhibition of cell growth in breast cancer cell lines. Control-treated xenografts generated a tumor burden that necessitated sacrifice within one month of initial treatment, whereas xenograft-bearing mice treated with Ad-Elafin were alive at eight months with marked reduction in tumor growth. Elastase inhibition mimicked these results, showing decreased tumor cell growth in vitro and in vivo. Low expression of elafin gene correlated with significantly reduced time to relapse, and when combined with high expression of elastase gene was associated with decreased survival in breast cancer patients.
Our data suggest that elafin plays a direct role in the suppression of tumors through inhibition of elastase and thus serves as a prognostic indicator for breast cancer patients.
Since the molecular cloning of the vzg-1/Edg-2/LPA1 gene, studies have attempted to characterize LPA1 receptor functionality into a single categorical role, different from the other Edg-family LPA receptors. The desire to categorize LPA1 function has highlighted its complexity and demonstrated that the LPA1 receptor does not have one absolute function throughout every system. The central nervous system is highly enriched in the LPA1 receptor, suggesting an integral role in neuronal processes. Metastatic and invasive breast cancer also appears to have LPA-mediated LPA1 receptor functions that enhance phenotypes associated with tumorigenesis. LPA1 possesses a number of motifs conserved among G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs): a DRY-like motif, a PDZ domain, Ser/Thr predicted sites of phosphorylation, a dileucine motif, double cysteines in the tail and conserved residues that stabilize structure and determine ligand binding. The third intracellular loop of the LPA1 receptor may be the crux of receptor signaling and attenuation with phosphorylation of Thr-236 potentially a key determinant of basal LPA1 signaling. Mutagenesis data supports the notion that Thr-236 regulates this process since mutating Thr-236 to Ala-236 increased basal and LPA-mediated serum response factor (SRF) signaling activity and Lys-236 further increased this basal signaling. Here we describe progress on defining the major functions of the LPA1 receptor, discuss a context dependent dualistic role as both a negative regulator in cancer and a proto-oncogene, outline its structural components at the molecular amino-acid level and present mutagenesis data on the third intracellular loop of the receptor.
LPA1 receptor; LPA; AKT; mutagenesis; ovarian cancer; breast cancer; ICL3
Soft tissue sarcomas (STS) are heterogeneous mesenchymal tumors with diverse subtypes. STS can be classified into two main categories according to the type of genomic alteration: recurrent translocation driven STS, and non-recurrent translocations. However, little has known about acquired uniparental disomy in STS.
In this study, we analyzed SNP microarray data to determine the frequency and distribution patterns of acquired uniparental disomy (aUPD) in major soft tissue sarcoma (STS) subtypes using CNAG and R softwares.
We identified recurrent aUPD regions specific to alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma with the most frequent at 11p15.4, gastrointestinal stromal tumor at 1p36.11-p35.3, leiomyosarcoma at 17p13.3-p13.1, myxofibrosarcoma at 1p35.1-p34.2 and 16q23.3-q24.1, and pleomorphic liposarcoma at 13q13.2-q13.3 and 13q14.11-q14.2. In contrast, specific recurrent aUPD regions were not identified in dedifferentiated liposarcoma, Ewing sarcoma, myxoid/round cell liposarcoma, and synovial sarcoma. Strikingly total, centromeric and segmental aUPD regions are more frequent in STS that do not exhibit recurrent translocation events.
Our study yields a detailed map of aUPD across 9 diverse STS subtypes and suggests the potential location of several novel tumor suppressor genes and oncogenes.
Acquired uniparental disomy; Soft tissue sarcoma and whole-genome
Tumor cell proliferation requires both growth signals and sufficient cellular bioenergetics.The AMP-activated kinase (AMPK) pathway appears dominant over the oncogenic signaling pathway suppressing cell proliferation. This study investigated the preclinical efficacy of targeting the tumor bioenergetic pathway using a glycolysis inhibitor 2-deoxy glucose (2DG) and AMPK agonists, AICAR and metformin. We evaluated the in vitro anti-tumor activity of 2DG, metformin or AICAR alone, and 2DG in combination either with metformin or AICAR. We examined in vivo efficacy using xenograft mouse models. 2DG alone was not sufficient to promote tumor cell death, reflecting the limited efficacy demonstrated in clinical trials. A combined use of 2DG and AICAR also failed to induce cell death. However, 2DG and metformin led to significant cell death associated with decrease in cellular ATP, prolonged activation of AMPK, and sustained autophagy. Gene expression analysis and functional assays revealed that the selective AMPK agonist AICAR augments mitochondrial energy transduction (OXPHOS) while metformin compromises OXPHOS. Importantly, forced energy restoration with methylpyruvate reversed the cell death induced by 2DG and metformin, suggesting a critical role of energetic deprivation in the underlying mechanism of cell death. The combination of 2DG and metformin inhibited tumor growth in mouse xenograft models. Deprivation of tumor bioenergetics by dual inhibition of energy pathways might be an effective novel therapeutic approach for a broad spectrum of human tumors.
Tumor bioenergetics; Targeted therapy; Cancer energy metabolic pathway
Autotaxin (ATX, nucleotide pyrophosphate/phosphodiesterase-2, NPP2) is an autocrine motility factor initially characterized from A2058 melanoma cell conditioned medium. ATX is known to contribute to cancer cell survival, growth, and invasion. Recently ATX was shown to be responsible for the lysophospholipase D activity that generates lysophosphatidic acid (LPA). Production of LPA is sufficient to explain the effects of ATX on tumor cells. Cyclic phosphatidic acid (cPA) is a naturally occurring analog of LPA in which the sn-2 hydroxy group forms a 5-membered ring with the sn-3 phosphate. Cellular responses to cPA generally oppose those of LPA despite activation of apparently overlapping receptor populations, suggesting that cPA also activates cellular targets distinct from LPA receptors. cPA has previously been shown to inhibit tumor cell invasion in vitro and cancer cell metastasis in vivo. However, the mechanism governing this effect remains unresolved. Here we show that 3-carba analogs of cPA lack significant agonist activity at LPA receptors yet are potent inhibitors of ATX activity, LPA production, and A2058 melanoma cell invasion in vitro and B16F10 melanoma cell metastasis in vivo.