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Surg Today. 2003;33(2):83-8.

Thymidylate synthase and dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase mRNA levels in thymoma.

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Department of Surgery II, Nagoya City University Medical School, Kawasumi 1, Mizuho-cho, Mizuho-ku, Nagoya 467-8601, Japan.



Thymoma is one of the most common solid tumors in the mediastinum. However, there is no definitive consensus regarding the optimal adjuvant chemotherapy for advanced thymoma.


To predict tumor sensitivity to 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) in thymoma, we investigated the mRNA levels of thymidylate synthase (TS), the key enzyme that catalyzes the methylation of deoxyuridine monophosphate, and correlates with the resistance of 5-FU and dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD), which degrades 5-FU in thymoma. We used real-time quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) using the LightCycler to monitor the TS and DPD gene expression levels in thymoma tissue specimens from patients, coamplified with glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) as an internal standard.


In the resected tumor specimens, TS and DPD mRNA levels were 3.876 and 14.651, respectively. Both the TS and DPD mRNA levels were significantly higher in the tumor tissue specimens than in the normal adjacent thymus tissue specimens. No significant correlations were observed between the TS or DPD levels and other clinicopathological factors.


The combined use of measurements of TS and DPD mRNA levels using real-time RT-PCR analyses may provide an indication of the selective cytoxicity of 5-FU on thymoma. In general, 5-FU itself is not considered to be a useful treatment for thymoma. The usufulness of DPD-inhibiting fluoropyrimidine (DIF) drugs for thymoma should therefore be further considered.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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