Autotaxin, a lysophospholipase D with pleomorphic effects in oncogenesis and cancer progression

Lorenzo Federico, Kang Jin Jeong, Christopher P. Vellano, Gordon B. Mills

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


The ectonucleotide pyrophosphatase/phosphodiesterase type 2, more commonly known as autotaxin (ATX), is an ecto-lysophospholipase D encoded by the human ENNP2 gene. ATX is expressed in multiple tissues and participates in numerous key physiologic and pathologic processes, including neural development, obesity, inflammation, and oncogenesis, through the generation of the bioactive lipid, lysophosphatidic acid. Overwhelming evidence indicates that altered ATX activity leads to oncogenesis and cancer progression through the modulation of multiple hallmarks of cancer pathobiology. Here, we review the structural and catalytic characteristics of the ectoenzyme, how its expression and maturation processes are regulated, and how the systemic integration of its pleomorphic effects on cells and tissues may contribute to cancer initiation, progression, and therapy. Additionally, the up-to-date spectrum of the most frequent ATX genomic alterations from The Cancer Genome Atlas project is reported for a subset of cancers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-35
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of lipid research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Inflammation
  • Metabolism
  • The Cancer Genome Atlas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology


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