The cytochromes P450 (P450) are a large group of constitutive and inducible haem-containing enzymes, which have a central role in the oxidative metabolism of a diverse range of xenobiotics. Many P450 substrates are carcinogenic, while other substrates are anti-cancer drugs; the P450s thus have various potentially important roles in tumour biology. Several P450 genes are polymorphic and are associated with the increased risk of cancer development in specific tissues. Individual P450s, especially CYP1B1, are overexpressed in different types of tumours. The increased expression of P450s in tumours is highly significant and is important for understanding tumour development and progression. The tumour-specific expression of P450 provides the basis for the development of novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies.
Copyright 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.