Matrix metalloproteinases are a family of zinc-containing proteases that degrade extracellular matrix and basement membranes. These enzymes are thought to play a role in processes essential for tumor growth, invasion, and metastasis. Here we report pharmacokinetic and anti-tumor efficacy studies with a series of structurally related inhibitors of these enzymes that were synthesized at Agouron Pharmaceuticals using protein structure based drug design. The compounds studied were AG3287, AG3293, AG3294, AG3296, AG3319, and AG3340. Rat oral bioavailability ranged from 15 to 68%. Despite similar profiles of enzyme inhibition across the family of enzymes, and similar pharmacokinetics following i.p. administration to mice, efficacy against the Lewis lung carcinoma murine model varied from tumor growth enhancement, to significant reductions in the size of primary tumors and the number of lung metastases. AG3340 was the most efficacious compound against the Lewis lung carcinoma model, resulting in the complete cessation of primary tumor growth throughout the experiment in 4/6 mice treated with daily i.p. injections at a dose of 50 mg/kg. This treatment inhibited the formation of lung metastases greater than 5 mm in diameter by 90%.