Expression of CYP1A1 gene in patients with lung cancer: evidence for cigarette smoke-induced gene expression in normal lung tissue and for altered gene regulation in primary pulmonary carcinomas

J Natl Cancer Inst. 1990 Aug 15;82(16):1333-9. doi: 10.1093/jnci/82.16.1333.


The major polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon inducible-cytochrome P4501A1 gene (CYP1A1) is presumed to be important in pulmonary carcinogenesis and toxicology because its product, the cytochrome P4501A1-dependent (CYP1A1-dependent) monooxygenase, transforms selected xenobiotics (including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon procarcinogens in cigarette smoke) to potent carcinogenic metabolites. CYP1A1 messenger RNA (mRNA) expression has not, however, been previously demonstrated in human pulmonary tissue. This report defines CYP1A1 gene expression in normal lung tissue and primary pulmonary carcinoma tissue obtained at thoracotomy from 56 patients with lung cancer. When Northern blot hybridization analyses were performed, 17 of 19 (89%) and zero of five (0%) samples of normal lung tissue from active cigarette smokers and nonsmokers, respectively, expressed the normal 2.8-kilobase CYP1A1 mRNA. In addition, a time-dependent decrease in expression of the CYP1A1 gene was noted in normal lung tissue from individuals who were former smokers, with a decrease in expression occurring as early as 2 weeks following cessation of cigarette smoking. Expression became undetectable in all patients who had stopped smoking more than 6 weeks prior to study. When CYP1A1 gene expression was evaluated in lung cancers, mRNA levels were detectable in one of four (25%) tumors from nonsmokers; two of 24 (8%) tumors from former smokers; and seven of 15 (47%) tumors from cigarette smokers. In addition, an approximately 10-kilobase CYP1A1 RNA species, which was not detectable in normal lung tissue, was observed in five of ten (50%) of the lung cancers that expressed the CYP1A1 gene.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A1
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / biosynthesis*
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / genetics
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / metabolism
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes / biosynthesis*
  • Isoenzymes / genetics
  • Lung / metabolism*
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Lung Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxidoreductases / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • RNA, Neoplasm / analysis
  • Smoking / adverse effects*


  • Isoenzymes
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Neoplasm
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System
  • Oxidoreductases
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A1