Cytochrome P450 CYP1B1 is a relatively recently identified member of the CYP1 gene family. The purpose of this commentary is to review the regulatory mechanisms, metabolic specificity, and tissue-specific expression of this cytochrome P450 and to highlight its unique properties. The regulation of CYP1B1 involves a variety of both transcriptional and post-transcriptional mechanisms. CYP1B1 can metabolize a range of toxic and carcinogenic chemicals in vitro but in some cases with a unique stereoselectivity. Estradiol 4-hydroxylation appears to be a characteristic reaction catalyzed by human CYP1B1. However, there are considerable species differences regarding the regulation, metabolic specificity, and tissue-specific expression of this P450. In humans CYP1B1 is overexpressed in tumor cells, and this has important implications for tumor development and progression and the development of anticancer drugs specifically activated by CYP1B1.