Genetics & Genomics

Understanding CYP2D6 and Its Role in Tamoxifen Metabolism

Edith C. Smith

tamoxifen, metabolizing enzymes, genetics/genomics
ONF 2013, 40(6), 547-548. DOI: 10.1188/13.ONF.547-548

The gene CYP2D6 has an extremely important role in drug metabolism. "Cytochrome P450, family 2, subfamily D, polypeptide 6" is the official name of CYP2D6. The gene is located at position 13.1 on the long (q) arm of chromosome 21 and encodes a member of the cytochrome P450 superfamily of enzymes. The cytochrome P450 proteins are monooxygenases that are heavily involved in drug metabolism (Genetics Home Reference, 2013), and many drugs are activated into their biologically active compounds. Because of numerous polymorphisms, the gene also has significant person-to-person variability. To date, more than 80 distinct CYP2D6 alleles and specific types and frequencies have been associated with different ethnic groups. CYP2D6*4 is the most common variant allele in Caucasians and, in that population, has a frequency of about 25%. On the other hand, CYP2D6*10 is common in the Asian population (Stearns & Rae, 2008).

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