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Clin Colorectal Cancer. 2004 Feb;3(4):225-34.

Dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase and thymidylate synthase polymorphisms and their association with 5-fluorouracil/leucovorin chemotherapy in colorectal cancer.

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Massachusetts General Hospital, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.


The causes of interpatient variation in severe toxicity resulting from treatment with weekly 5-fluorouracil (5-FU)/ leucovorin (LV) are poorly understood. This study was undertaken to examine the contribution of commonly occurring polymorphisms in the dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPYD) gene to interpatient variability in 5-FU pharmacokinetics and toxicity. Patients with stage III/IV colorectal cancer were treated by bolus intravenous (I.V.) injection with 500 mg/m2 doses of 5-FU and LV once every week. The pharmacokinetics of 5-FU was determined on weeks 1 and 4. Genotyping assays were developed for 8 polymorphisms in the DPYD gene. A well-characterized functional polymorphism in the 5' untranslated region of the thymidylate synthase (TS) gene was also analyzed. A cohort of 22 patients (15 male, 7 female) with a median age of 61 years was evaluated. Although there was no relationship between the area under the plasma concentration time curve (AUC) for the first dose of 5-FU and worst-grade toxicity during the first cycle of therapy, 3 of the 4 patients in whom the AUC on week 4 was more than equal to 5 microgram/h/mL greater than the value for the first dose experienced grade 3/4 toxicity during subsequent treatment. Among the 8 polymorphisms in the DPYD gene, 7 were found to vary in the study population but none were significantly associated with the AUC of 5-FU. There was no relationship between the DPYD and TS genotypes examined and 5-FU toxicity. Extensive polymorphism in the DPYD gene was observed; however, no conclusive correlations existed between the DPYD and TS genotype and 5-FU pharmacokinetics or toxicity. Decreases in 5-FU clearance in certain patients may provide insight into the increased toxicity following repetitive cycles of treatment with weekly I.V. bolus 5-FU. The present study offers useful themes for undertaking larger prospective pharmacogenetic studies in the future.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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