Metastasis is a major cause of death in cancer patients and involves a multistep process including detachment of cancer cells from a primary cancer, invasion of surrounding tissue, spread through circulation, re-invasion and proliferation in distant organs. KiSS-1 is a human metastasis suppressor gene, that suppresses metastases of human melanomas and breast carcinomas without affecting tumorigenicity. However, its gene product and functional mechanisms have not been elucidated. Here we show that KiSS-1 (refs 1, 4) encodes a carboxy-terminally amidated peptide with 54 amino-acid residues, which we have isolated from human placenta as the endogenous ligand of an orphan G-protein-coupled receptor (hOT7T175) and have named 'metastin'. Metastin inhibits chemotaxis and invasion of hOT7T175-transfected CHO cells in vitro and attenuates pulmonary metastasis of hOT7T175-transfected B16-BL6 melanomas in vivo. The results suggest possible mechanisms of action for KiSS-1 and a potential new therapeutic approach.