Drugs and carcinogens are substrates of a group of metabolic enzymes including cytochrome p450 enzymes and gluthatione S-transferases. Many of the genes encoding these enzymes exhibit functional polymorphisms that contribute individual cancer susceptibility and drug response. Molecular studies based on these polymorphic enzymes also explain the aetiology of cancer and therapeutic management in clinics. We analysed the cytochrome p4501A1 (CYP1A1) and 2D6 (CYP2D6) variant genotype and allele frequencies by PCR-RFLP in Turkish individuals (n = 140). The frequency of the CYP1A1*2A mutant allele was found to be 15.4%, and the CYP2D6*3 and *4 mutant allele (poor metabolizer) frequencies were 2.5% and 13.9%, respectively. This study presents the first results of CYP1A1 and CYP2D6 mutant allele distributions in the Turkish population and these data provide an understanding of epidemiological studies that correlate therapeutic approaches and aetiology of several types of malignancy in Turkish patients. Copyright (C) 2005 John Wiley Sons, Ltd.