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Br J Cancer. 1998 Jul;78(1):62-8.

Thymidylate synthase expression and activity: relation to S-phase parameters and 5-fluorouracil sensitivity.

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  • 1Centre Alexis Vautrin, Laboratoire de Recherche en Oncologie, Vandoeuvre-les-Nancy, France.


Six human cancer cell lines exhibiting a large range of sensitivity to 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) were evaluated for thymidylate synthase (TS) and p53 gene expression, TS and dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) activity, as well as cell cycle parameters, S-phase fraction (SPF), bromodeoxyuridine labelling index (LI) and S-phase duration (SPD). All these parameters were investigated for 7 days in asynchronously growing cell populations and compared with the cell sensitivity to 5-FU. No significant correlation was found between S-phase parameters and TS gene expression and/or activity. TS activity was higher in proliferating cells; however, it was not significantly higher in rapidly growing cell lines with short SPD. Neither TS gene expression nor activity was found to correlate with 5-FU sensitivity. On the another hand, a statistically significant correlation (P < 0.0001) was observed between LI and SPD and 5-FU sensitivity. The present results suggest that cell cycle parameters such as SPD and/or LI could be better parameters for 5-FU sensitivity prediction than TS gene expression and/or activity. This could be especially informative in cases of concomitant radio-chemotherapy as S-phase parameters are already proposed for hyperfractionated radiotherapy planning.

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