The cytochrome P450 enzymes are highly expressed in the liver and are involved in the metabolism of xenobiotics. Because of the initiatives associated with the Human Genome Project, a great progress has recently been seen in the identification and characterization of novel extrahepatic P450s, including CYP2S1, CYP2R1, CYP2U1 and CYP2W1. Like the hepatic enzymes, these P450s may play a role in the tissue-specific metabolism of foreign compounds, but they may also have important endogenous functions. CYP2S1 has been shown to metabolize all-trans retinoic acid and CYP2R1 is a major vitamin D 25-hydroxylase. Regarding their metabolism of xenobiotics, much remains to be established, but CYP2S1 metabolizes naphthalene and it is likely that these P450s are responsible for metabolic activation of several different kinds of xenobiotic chemicals and contribute to extrahepatic toxicity and carcinogenesis.