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Metabolic genotype in relation to individual susceptibility to environmental carcinogens

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Earlier research indicates that within the human population there are considerable differences in the response to the carcinogenic activity of environmental carcinogens. Genetic polymorphism associated with several variants of the gene products participating in the biotransformation of various xenobiotics (including carcinogens) found in human populations constitutes a major cause of those differences. Enzymes coded by different variants of the same gene can differ in their catalytic activities. Up to the present time, most information on the effect of genetic polymorphism on the individual's ability to activate or deactivate environmental carcinogenic xenobiotics, and the associated risk of cancer, has been collected from studies of cytochromes P-450 belonging to gene families CYP1, CYP2 and CYP3, and of glutathione S-transferases and N-acetyltransferases. As carcinogen metabolism comprises a chain of chemical reactions involving numerous enzymes and enzyme-coding genes, research performed hitherto is able to offer only a very limited explanation of the associations between genetic polymorphism and the individual's susceptibility to cancer.

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Received: 19 June 1998 / Accepted: 14 June 1999

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Indulski, J., Lutz, W. Metabolic genotype in relation to individual susceptibility to environmental carcinogens. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 73, 71–85 (2000).

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