, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 723-735,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Cytochrome P450-derived eicosanoids: the neglected pathway in cancer

Abstract

Endogenously produced lipid autacoids are locally acting small molecule mediators that play a central role in the regulation of inflammation and tissue homeostasis. A well-studied group of autacoids are the products of arachidonic acid metabolism, among which the prostaglandins and leukotrienes are the best known. They are generated by two pathways controlled by the enzyme systems cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase, respectively. However, arachidonic acid is also substrate for a third enzymatic pathway, the cytochrome P450 (CYP) system. This third eicosanoid pathway consists of two main branches: ω-hydroxylases convert arachidonic acid to hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acids (HETEs) and epoxygenases convert it to epoxyeicosatrienoic acids (EETs). This third CYP pathway was originally studied in conjunction with inflammatory and cardiovascular disease. Arachidonic acid and its metabolites have recently stimulated great interest in cancer biology; but, unlike prostaglandins and leukotrienes the link between cytochome P450 metabolites and cancer has received little attention. In this review, the emerging role in cancer of cytochrome P450 metabolites, notably 20-HETE and EETs, are discussed.