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Mutat Res. 1998 Jun 18;402(1-2):179-83.

The pitfall of detoxifying enzymes.

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Department of Pharmacology, Genetic and Biochemical Toxicology Units, University of Bologna, Via Irnerio 48, 40126 Bologna, Italy.


One of the major mechanism of chemical protection against mutagenesis, carcinogenesis and other forms of toxicity is the induction of phase-II metabolizing enzymes such as UDP-glucuronosyl transferases, glutathione S-transferases and NAD(P)H quinone reductase, or inhibition of typical phase-I reactions. The use of selective inducers of conjugating enzymes or inhibitors of CYP- and FAD-dependent monooxygenases revealed the possibility of reducing the expression of certain forms of malignancy. However, the use of some anti-initiating entities devised to reduce tumor initiation, seems to receive invalidated justification. Indeed, considering the double edge-sword nature (activating or detoxifying) of drug metabolizing enzymes as well as the myriad of xenobiotics to which human is exposed, any attempt to modulate such catalysts by dietary components (including drugs) could lead to an increased cancer risk. Paradoxically, it has been recently proposed the use of metabolizing liver preparations, isolated from phase-II induced rodents, as a novel bioactivating model in the field of genetic toxicology. Exogenous microsomal (S9) fraction prepared from 2-(3)-tert-butyl-4-hydroxyanisole (BHA) (monofunctional post-oxidative inducer) treated mice are able to increase the DNA binding and genotoxic response of pre-mutagens. On the whole, the use of enzyme modulators in cancer chemoprevention, for their ability to simultaneously reduce or increase pre-carcinogen bioactivation, should be carefully reconsidered.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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