Send to

Choose Destination
Bioorg Med Chem. 2000 Jul;8(7):1697-706.

The design and synthesis of a new tumor-selective fluoropyrimidine carbamate, capecitabine.

Author information

Department of Chemistry, Nippon Roche Research Center, Kamakura City, Kanagawa, Japan.


To identify an orally available fluoropyrimidine having efficacy and safety profiles greatly improved over those of parenteral 5-fluorouracil (5-FU: 1), we designed a 5-FU prodrug that would pass intact through the intestinal mucisa and be sequentially converted to 5-FU by enzymes that are highly expressed in the human liver and then in tumors. Among various N4-substituted 5'-deoxy-5-fluorocytidine derivatives, a series of N4-alkoxycarbonyl derivatives were hydrolyzed to 5'-deoxy-5-fluorocytidine (5'-DFCR: 8) specifically by carboxylesterase, which exists preferentially in the liver in humans and monkeys. Particularly, derivatives having an N4-alkoxylcarbonyl moiety with a C4-C6 alkyl chain were the most susceptible to the human carboxylesterase. Those were then converted to 5'-deoxy-5-fluorouridine (5'-DFUR: 4) by cytidine deaminase highly expressed in the liver and solid tumors and finally to 5-FU by thymidine phosphorylase (dThdPase) preferentially located in tumors. When administered orally to monkeys, a derivative having the N4-alkoxylcarbonyl moiety with a C5 alkyl chain (capecitabine: 6) The highest AUC and Cmax for plasma 5'-DFUR. In tests with various human cancer xenograft models, capecitabine was more efficacious at wider dose ranges than either 5-FU or 5'-DFUR and was significantly less toxic to the intestinal tract than the others in monkeys.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center