Département de pharmacogénétique et pharmacotoxicologie, Institut Gustave-Roussy, 39, rue Camille-Desmoulins, 94805 Villejuif Cedex, France.
Pharmacogenetics could be defined as the study of genetically controlled variations in drug response. Introduction of pharmacogenetics in hematology and oncology has been done recently. With recombinant DNA technology, like restriction analysis of genomic DNA, enzymatic amplification of DNA by the polymerase chain reaction and expression of cDNAs in cell cultures, this research area has been developed during the last 10 years. In hematology and oncology, we can integrate pharmacogenetics in 3 areas. First, the concept of genetic risk of cancer and the study of drug or carcinogen metabolizing enzymes that could modulate this risk, regarding the activity of some specific enzymes; second, the use of pharmacogenetics, related to the toxicity or efficacy of anticancer drugs, allowing the identification of key enzymes involved in the biotransformation of the drug and the study of molecular aspects involved in the regulation of the activity of the enzymes; third, the implication of the study of enzymatic activities in tumoral tissues as compared to non-tumoral tissues. The following differencies between the 2 tissues can be subsequently used to increase the specificity of the anticancer drugs