Detoxifying enzyme genotypes and susceptibility to cutaneous malignancy

Br J Dermatol. 2000 Jan;142(1):8-15. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2133.2000.03339.x.


While ultraviolet (UV) exposure is thought to be a major risk factor for basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma, more recent research has focused on genetic factors predisposing to these cancers. UV constitutes an oxidative stress with generation of free radicals, leading to lipid and DNA damage and gene mutation. It could therefore be hypothesized that individual ability to deal with these products may be important in cutaneous carcinogenesis. It is clear from recent studies that polymorphisms in detoxifying enzyme genes are important in determining susceptibility to skin cancer. The magnitude of effect in BCC is similar to that seen with many other previously described risk factors. However, uncertainties exist regarding the phenotypic consequences of some of these polymorphisms and relevant substrates. This review describes the influence of polymorphisms in detoxifying enzymes in determining susceptibility to skin cancer (in particular to BCC) and give a brief overview of the biochemistry of the detoxification process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / enzymology
  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / genetics*
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A1 / metabolism
  • DNA Repair
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genotype
  • Glutathione Transferase / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Polymorphism, Genetic / genetics*
  • Skin Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Skin Neoplasms / genetics*


  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A1
  • Glutathione Transferase
  • glutathione S-transferase M1