Send to

Choose Destination
Ann Oncol. 2000 Oct;11(10):1301-7.

Evaluation of drug interactions in the established FEC regimen in primary cultures of tumour cells from patients.

Author information

Department of Oncology, Radiology and Clinical Immunology, University Hospital Uppsala, Sweden.



Chemotherapy using multi-drug regimens is considered more active than single-agent therapy. This may be due to synergistic interactions or, simply, a higher probability of administering an active agent. We investigated in vitro the type of drug interactions in a recognized regimen in relationship to tumour type and drug sensitivity.


The possibility of synergistic and additive interactions between individual cytotoxic drugs was investigated for the component drugs of the established FEC regimen, i.e., 5-fluorouracil, epirubicin and cyclophosphamide, in 243 patient tumour samples representing various drug sensitivity using the non-clonogenic fluorometric microculture cytotoxicity assay.


Using a cell survival of < or = 50% as a limit for drug activity and sample sensitivity, the overall response rates to the most active single drug (Dmax) and the combination were 56% and 64%, respectively, with a distribution among diagnoses similar to that in the clinic. For 86% of the samples there was concordance with respect to judgement of activity using either Dmax or the combination. For samples being sensitive to at least one single drug, 95% were also sensitive to the combination whereas for samples with insignificant Dmax effect, only 2% were sensitive to the combination. In samples with modest Dmax effects, i.e., cell survival in the range > 50%- < or = 80%, 45% responded to the combination. The effect of the combination was generally well predicted from the Dmax effect.


The superior antitumour effect of drug combinations compared with single drugs may be due to the higher chance of selecting an active agent. However, for intermediately sensitive tumours, additional interaction effects of a combination may be of clinical significance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center