Human cytochrome P450 1A2 (CYP1A2) is involved in the metabolism of a large number of common drugs and is responsible for the metabolic activation of numerous promutagens and procarcinogens. Large interindividual differences exist in the expression of this enzyme. This variability has important implications for drug efficacy and cancer susceptibility. In this sudy, the methylation status of the CCGG site (bp -2759) located adjacent to an AP-1 site in the 5′-flanking region of the CYP1A2 gene was assessed in liver samples from a pool of 55 human donors. DNA methylation is an important epigenetic mechanism controlling gene expression and may be one of the molecular mechanisms underlying the interindividual variation. Analysis was conducted using Hpa II digestion and PCR. Results showed that individual samples varied in the methylation status at this site. The site was found to be hypermethylated in ∼60% of the samples. To compare methylation status with level of CYP1A2 expression, results were analyzed by median test. In 44% of the samples with expression levels above the median the CCGG site was hypermethylated. However, for those samples with levels below the median hypermethylation of the site was found in 73% of the samples. The difference was statistically significant (p<0.05). These findings indicate that CpG methylation may be involved in controlling the expression of CYP1A2, with hypermethylation reducing expression. Moreover, this approach can be useful in assessing the role of site-specific DNA methylation in interindividual variation of CYP1A2. Analysis of other CpG sites in potentially important regulatory elements of the CYP1A2 gene will continue. © 2001 Elsevier Science.