A history and overview of phenotypic variability in CYP2D6 activity

Beyoglu, Diren; Idle, Jeffrey (2014). A history and overview of phenotypic variability in CYP2D6 activity. In: Baumann, Pierre (ed.) CYP2D6: Genetics, Pharmacology and Clinical Relevance (pp. 8-27). London: Future Medicine 10.2217/FMEB2013.13.97

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CYP2D6 is a human cytochrome P450 that is responsible for the metabolism of a large number of drugs and chemicals. Interest in CYP2D6 has largely centered on the wide interindividual variability in its catalytic activity that stems from a common genetic polymorphism in the CYP2D6 gene. Two major phenotypes exist, extensive metabolizer (EM) and poor metabolizer (PM), together with the two less studied phenotypes of ultrarapid metabolizer (UM) and intermediate metabolizer. These phenotypes are the expression of an underlying allelomorphism in CYP2D6 and are also context dependent. Several drugs that are CYP2D6 substrates display polymorphic metabolism, that is, the existence in the population of multiple phenotypes, in particular EM and PM. The most notable drugs in this regard are debrisoquine and sparteine, although there are also data for a few others, in particular, dextromethorphan and metoprolol. Many nongenetic factors can alter the expression of CYP2D6 phenotypes, the most significant of which is the presence of other drugs. In this context, the EM phenotype may not be immutable, with potential conversion into a PM phenocopy, due to significantly impaired CYP2D6 metabolism in the presence of other CYP2D6 substrates and inhibitors. This phenotype interconversion generated great concern and helped drive the movement away from phenotyping based upon drug administration to genotyping of acquired DNA samples. However, ascertaining the presence of CYP2D6 alleles in a DNA sample does not determine the metabolism and pharmacokinetics of CYP2D6 substrates in that subject: it is a forecast, much like the weather forecast and, as we all know regarding the weather, the forecast can be inaccurate at times.

Item Type:

Book Section (Book Chapter)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Gastro-intestinal, Liver and Lung Disorders (DMLL) > Clinic of Visceral Surgery and Medicine > Hepatology

UniBE Contributor:

Beyoglu, Diren and Idle, Jeffrey


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




Future Medicine




Lilian Karin Smith-Wirth

Date Deposited:

16 Apr 2015 12:33

Last Modified:

11 Sep 2017 17:22

Publisher DOI:






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