Modulation of 5-fluorouracil host-toxicity and chemotherapeutic efficacy against human colon tumors by 5-(phenylthio)acyclouridine, a uridine phosphorylase inhibitor

Academic Article


  • Purpose: The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate the effectiveness of oral 5-(phenylthio)acyclouridine (PTAU) in reducing 5-fluorouracil (FUra) host-toxicity and enhancing its chemotherapeutic efficacy against human colon tumors. PTAU is a potent and specific inhibitor of uridine phosphorylase (UrdPase, EC, the enzyme responsible for uridine catabolism. Methods: SCID mice bearing human colon DLD-1 or HCT-15 tumors were injected intraperitoneally with FUra (50, 200 or 300 mg/kg) on days 17, 24 and 31 after tumor cell inoculation. PTAU (120 mg/kg), uridine (1,320 mg/kg) or their combination was administered orally 2 or 4 h after FUra injection. Another four administrations of PTAU + uridine were given every 8 h after the first treatment with PTAU plus uridine. Survival and body weight were used to evaluate host toxicity. Tumor weight was used to evaluate the efficacy of the drugs on tumor growth. The mice were monitored for 38 days. Results: Administration of the maximum tolerated dose (50 mg/kg) of FUra reduced DLD-1 and HCT-15 tumor weights by 48 and 59%, respectively, at day 38 post implantation. Administration of 200 mg/kg FUra resulted in 100% mortality. Oral administration of uridine (1,320 mg/kg) alone, 2 h following the administration of 200 mg/kg FUra, did not alleviate FUra host-toxicity as all the mice died. Administration of 120 mg/kg PTAUresulted in partial rescue from this lethal dose of FUra as 63% of mice survived and tumor weights were reduced by approximately 60%. Coadministration of PTAU plus uridine resulted in complete rescue from the toxicity of FUra as 100% of the mice survived and tumor weights were reduced by 81-82%. Delaying the administration of the combination of PTAU plus uridine to 4 h post FUra treatment was less effective in rescuing from FUra toxicity as only 88% of the mice survived and tumor weights were reduced by only 62%. Administration of PTAU alone, under the same conditions, resulted in a 38% survival rate while the tumor weights were reduced by 47%. Treatment with uridine alone did not protect from FUra toxicity at the dose of 200 mg/kg as all mice died. At the higher dose of 300 mg/kg FUra, neither uridine nor PTAU alone, administered 2 h following the treatment with FUra, had any rescuing effect. On the other hand, the use of the PTAU plus uridine combination reduced the tumor weight by 79%, although this reduction in the tumor weight was accompanied by 37% mortality. There was no significant difference between DLD-1 and HCT-15 in their response to the different regimens employed in this study despite the fact that the tumors have different levels of UrdPase. Conclusions: The present results demonstrate that the combination of PTAU plus uridine represents an exceptionally efficient method in increasing FUra chemotherapeutic efficacy while minimizing its host-toxicity. The efficiency of the PTAU plus uridine combination can be attributed to the extraordinary effectiveness of this combinationin raising and maintaining higher levels of uridine in vivo (Al Safarjalani et al., Cancer Chemo Pharmacol 55:541-551, 2005). Therefore, the combination of PTAU plus uridine can provide a better substitute for the large doses of uridine necessary to rescue or protect from FUra host-toxicities, without the toxic side-effects associated with such doses of uridine. This combination may also allow for the escalation of FUra doses for better chemotherapeutic efficacy against human colon carcinoma while avoiding FUra host-toxicities. Alternatively, the combination of PTAU and uridine may be useful as an antidote in the few cases when cancer patients receive a lethal overdose of FUra. © Springer-Verlag 2006.
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    Author List

  • Al Safarjalani ON; Rais R; Shi J; Schinazi RF; Naguib FNM; El Kouni MH
  • Start Page

  • 692
  • End Page

  • 698
  • Volume

  • 58
  • Issue

  • 5