A novel human cytochrome P450, CYP2W1, was cloned and expressed heterologously. No or very low CYP2W1 mRNA levels were detected in fetal and adult human tissues, expression was however seen in 54% of human tumor samples investigated (n=37), in particular colon and adrenal tumors. Western blotting also revealed high expression of CYP2W1 in some human colon tumors. In rat tissues, CYP2W1 mRNA was expressed preferentially in fetal but also in adult colon. The CYP2W1 gene was shown to encompass one functional CpG island in the exon 1-intron 1 region which was methylated in cell lines lacking CYP2W1 expression, but unmethylated in cells expressing CYP2W1. Re-expression of CYP2W1 was seen following demethylation by 5-Aza-2'-deoxycytidine. Transfection of HEK293 cells with CYP2W1 caused the formation of a properly folded enzyme, which was catalytically active with arachidonic acid as a substrate. It is concluded that CYP2W1 represents a tumor-specific P450 isoform with potential importance as a drug target in cancer therapy.