Cancer and Metastasis Reviews

, Volume 30, Issue 3–4, pp 557–565 | Cite as

Autotaxin and LPA receptor signaling in cancer

  • Anna J. S. Houben
  • Wouter H. Moolenaar


Lysophosphatidic acid (LPA; monoacyl-glycerol-3-phosphate) is a lipid mediator that functions as a mitogen and motility factor for many cell types. LPA signals through six specific G protein-coupled receptors, named LPA1–6, which trigger both overlapping and distinct signaling pathways. LPA is produced from extracellular lysophosphatidylcholine by a secreted lysophospholipase D, named autotaxin (ATX), originally identified as an “autocrine motility factor” for tumor cells. ATX–LPA signaling is vital for embryonic development and promotes tumor formation, angiogenesis, and experimental metastasis in mice. Elevated expression of ATX and/or aberrant expression of LPA receptors are found in several human malignancies, while loss of LPA6 function has been implicated in bladder cancer. In this review, we summarize our present understanding of ATX and LPA receptor signaling in cancer.


Autotaxin Cancer Lysophosphatidic acid G protein-coupled receptor 



Work related to this review is supported by grants from the Dutch Cancer Society and the Netherlands Organization of Pure Research. We thank Anastassis Perrakis for designing Fig. 1.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Cell BiologyThe Netherlands Cancer InstituteAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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