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Cancer Invest. 1991;9(6):637-42.

5-Fluorouracil by protracted venous infusion: a review of recent clinical studies.

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Department of Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.


The pharmacokinetics of continuous infusion 5-fluorouracil make it an ideal drug to administer as a protracted infusion (continuous infusion more than 30 days). During the last decade numerous clinical studies have been conducted to evaluate the efficacy of 5-fluorouracil (5FU) administered as a protracted venous infusion. Phase II studies in metastatic colorectal cancer in 345 patients have demonstrated an average response rate of 36% (range 15-59%) and a prospective randomized study performed by the Mid-Atlantic Oncology Program (MAOP) has confirmed a higher response rate with 5FU infusion compared with a bolus schedule. Phase II studies in refractory carcinoma of the breast in 177 patients have demonstrated a 30% response rate (range 17-50%); studies in pancreatic, gastric, and refractory prostate cancer have also demonstrated clinical utility. The major toxicities of 5FU infusion are mucositis and hand-foot syndrome; life-threatening myelosuppression is rare and treatment-related deaths have not been reported. 5FU infusion is a useful palliative treatment for many adult patients with advanced malignancies.

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