Autotaxin (ATX) is a recently discovered phospholipase D that transforms lysophosphatidylcholine (lpc) into lysophosphatidic acid (lpa). The protein was described as a motility factor for about 10 years until its catalytic capacity was understood. Autotaxin has been identified as a marker of various types of diseases or pre-disease conditions, and it is expressed in a large number of tissues. ATX seems to play a major role downstream of known oncogenes. It has been shown that ATX is induced by the over-expression and/or activation of some key oncogenes, such as ras, jun, rhoC, myc (lpa regulated c-myc, turning the system into a loop), possibly fyn, and the protooncogene wnt-1 or integrins reported on the pathway(s) activated by ATX expression. Enhanced ATX expression has been repeatedly demonstrated in various tumours, including non-small cell lung cancer, breast cancer, renal cell cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma and thyroid cancer and should be enough to suggest that ATX is a potential chemotherapeutic target.


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