Cytochrome P450 2B6: function, genetics, and clinical relevance

Drug Metabol Drug Interact. 2012;27(4):185-97. doi: 10.1515/dmdi-2012-0027.


Cytochrome P450 (CYP) 2B6 belongs to the set of important hepatic drug-metabolizing CYPs. It makes up roughly 3%-6% of total hepatic CYP content and metabolizes several pharmaceuticals including bupropion, efavirenz, cyclophosphamide, pethidine, ketamine and propofol. The enzyme is susceptible to drug-drug interactions by enzyme induction and inhibition. In addition to drugs, CYP2B6 is able to both detoxify and bioactivate a number of procarcinogens and environmental agents including pesticides and herbicides. There is an extensive interindividual variability in the expression of CYP2B6, which is in part explained by extensive genetic polymorphism. CYP2B6 is one of the most polymorphic CYP genes in humans with over 100 described SNPs, numerous complex haplotypes and distinct ethnic and racial frequencies. This review summarizes the basic properties of CYP2B6 and the main characteristics of clinical relevance.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aryl Hydrocarbon Hydroxylases / genetics
  • Aryl Hydrocarbon Hydroxylases / physiology*
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2B6
  • Drug Interactions
  • Humans
  • Oxidoreductases, N-Demethylating / genetics
  • Oxidoreductases, N-Demethylating / physiology*
  • Pharmacogenetics


  • Aryl Hydrocarbon Hydroxylases
  • CYP2B6 protein, human
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2B6
  • Oxidoreductases, N-Demethylating