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Cancer Res. 1989 Sep 1;49(17):4866-9.

Implications for therapy of drug-metabolizing enzymes in human colon cancer.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Montreal General Hospital, Quebec, Canada.


Human colonic tissue is exposed to a variety of toxic chemicals and potential carcinogens in the diet and the intestinal microenvironment. Colonic adenocarcinoma is commonly resistant to the cytotoxic effects of most chemotherapeutic drugs. We have examined drug metabolic and detoxification pathways in clinical specimens of colon carcinoma and normal adjacent mucosa from 17 patients. All elements of xenobiotic metabolism examined are present in these tissues, including cytochrome P-450-dependent enzymes, glutathione, and glutathione-utilizing enzymes. In comparison of tumor tissue to its respective normal mucosa specific alterations in the pathways affecting a number of chemotherapeutic agents were detected, including significantly higher glutathione, glutathione peroxidase, and anionic glutathione-S-transferase activity. These and other alterations found here could be the target of therapeutic maneuvers to enhance the efficacy of antineoplastic treatment of human colon cancer.

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