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Cancer Res. 1992 May 15;52(10):2899-902.

Correlation between dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase activity in peripheral mononuclear cells and systemic clearance of fluorouracil in cancer patients.

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  • 1Centre Antoine Lacassagne, Nice, France.


Dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) is the initial key enzyme in the catabolism of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU). We measured DPD activity in lymphocytes from 57 consecutive head and neck cancer patients while simultaneously monitoring 5-FU pharmacokinetics during 5-day, continuous infusion (1000 mg/m2/day) 5-FU therapy (82 cycles in total). The mean value for DPD activity was 0.186 +/- 0.068 (SD) nmol/min/mg of protein (range, 0.058 to 0.357). The mean value for 5-FU clearance was 2522.6 +/- 684.2 ml/min/m2 (range, 1052 to 4029). A significant linear correlation was observed between DPD activity and 5-FU clearance (r = 0.716, P less than 0.0001). DPD activity was poorly correlated to plasma uracil concentrations (r = -0.260, P = 0.0215). Likewise, plasma uracil concentrations were poorly correlated to 5-FU clearance (r = -0.214, P = 0.0595). In patients evaluated for more than one cycle (n = 18), there was large intrapatient variability in both DPD activity and 5-FU clearance. No significant difference was noted between cycles for DPD activity or 5-FU clearance (Kruskal-Wallis test). Monitoring DPD activity in lymphocytes may be useful in identifying patients at risk for altered 5-FU disposition.

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