Aberrant hyaluronan production has been implicated in many types of tumor. In this context, hyaluronidase has been explored as a viable therapeutic approach to reduce tumoral hyaluronan. However, elevated levels of hyaluronan in tumors are often associated with high expression levels of cellular hyaluronidases, which consequently produce various sizes of saturated hyaluronan fragments with divergent pro-tumoral activities. The current study shows that different hyaluronan metabolisms of mammalian and microbial hyaluronidases could elicit distinct alterations in cancer cell behavior. Unlike saturated hyaluronan metabolites, unsaturated hyaluronan oligosaccharides produced by bacteriophage hyaluronidase, HylP, had no biological effect on growth of breast carcinoma cells. More importantly, HylP's metabolic process of hyaluronan into non-detrimental oligosaccharides significantly decreased breast cancer cell proliferation, migration and invasion by disrupting Erk1/2 activation and RhoA expression. Our results suggest that it may be possible to exploit HylP's unique enzymatic activity in suppressing hyaluronan-mediated tumor growth and progression. © 2010 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.