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Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2011 May;44(5):583-90. doi: 10.1165/rcmb.2010-0189RT. Epub 2010 Nov 19.

Cytochrome P450-mediated pulmonary metabolism of carcinogens: regulation and cross-talk in lung carcinogenesis.

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  • 1Dept. of Pathology, HUSLAB and Helsinki University Hospital, Finland.


Lung cancer is strongly associated with exogenous risk factors, in particular tobacco smoking and asbestos exposure. New research data are accumulating about the regulation of the metabolism of tobacco carcinogens and the metabolic response to oxidative stress. These data provide mechanistic details about why well known risk factors cause lung cancer. The purpose of this review is to evaluate the present knowledge of the role of cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes in the metabolism of tobacco carcinogens and associations with tobacco and asbestos carcinogenesis. Major emphasis is placed on human data and regulatory pathways involved in CYP regulation and lung carcinogenesis. The most exciting new research findings concern cross-talk of the CYP-regulating aryl hydrocarbon receptor with other transcription factors, such as nuclear factor-erythroid 2-related factor 2, involved in the regulation of xenobiotic metabolism and antioxidant enzymes. This cross-talk between transcription factors may provide mechanistic evidence for clinically relevant issues, such as differences in lung cancers between men and women and the synergism between tobacco and asbestos as lung carcinogens.

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