Drug metabolizing enzymes, particularly those involved in the metabolism of carcinogenic chemicals, were characterized in cultured human keratinocytes. Using immunoblotting experiments, we analysed the expression of phase I enzymes, cytochrome P4501A1 (CYP1A1) and NADPH reductase, and phase II enzymes, phenol UDP-glucuronosyltransferase (UGT) and glutathione S-transferase (GST) isoform pi, in the presence of either classical inducers (i.e. 3-methylcholanthrene, dimethylbenz[a]anthracene, phenobarbital, and clofibrate) or all-trans retinoic acid (RA). This study has shown that the expression of CYP1A1 and UGT is concomitantly induced by 3-methylcholanthrene, dimethylbenz[a]anthracene, and RA, and that of NADPH reductase is only enhanced by phenobarbital and RA. In contrast, the expression of GST pi was not affected by the inducers. Using the reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, we have demonstrated that the effects of 3-methylcholanthrene, dimethylbenz[a]anthracene and RA on CYP1A1 expression correlate with an increase of CYP1A1 mRNA level. Our results indicate that, with the exception of clofibrate, xenobiotics and RA differentially modulate the expression of drug metabolizing enzymes.