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Cancer. 1993 Jan 1;71(1):36-43.

The expression of cytochrome P-450, epoxide hydrolase, and glutathione S-transferase in hepatocellular carcinoma.

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Department of Pathology, University of Aberdeen, Foresterhill, UK.



Cytochrome P-450, epoxide hydrolase, and glutathione S-transferase (GST) all play a key role in the metabolism of chemical carcinogens, mutagens, and various anti-cancer drugs. All these functionally associated enzymes might be involved in both the development of hepatocellular carcinoma and in determining the anti-cancer drug sensitivity of such tumors.


The expression of two forms of cytochrome P-450 (P-450 IA and P-450 IIIA), microsomal epoxide hydrolase, and three classes of cytosolic GST (alpha, mu, and pi) have been studied immunohistochemically in human hepatocellular carcinoma.


The hepatocellular carcinomas were characterized by a consistently high expression of epoxide hydrolase and variable expression of the cytochromes P-450 and GST. Cytochrome P-450 IA and IIIA stained in 64.5% and 41.9% of the 31 hepatocellular carcinomas studied, respectively. Epoxide hydrolase was present in all tumors, and GST types alpha, pi, and mu were identified in 48.4%, 38.7%, and 74.2% of the hepatocellular carcinomas, respectively.


This study showed that the expression of xenobiotic-metabolizing enzymes in hepatocellular carcinoma is complex and the presence of different xenobiotic enzymes in hepatocellular carcinoma may contribute to the intrinsic drug resistance of these tumors.

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