Investigational New Drugs

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 373–381 | Cite as

Pharmacology of Fluorinated Pyrimidines: Eniluracil

  • Sharyn D. Baker


The pharmacological inactivation of dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD)represents one strategy to improve 5-FU therapy, which historically hasbeen associated with unpredictable pharmacological behavior andtoxicity. This is principally due to high interpatientdifferences in the activity of DPD, the enzyme that mediates theinitial and rate-limiting step in 5-FU catabolism. Byinactivating DPD and suppressing the catabolism of 5-FU,eniluracil has dramatically altered the pharmacological profileof 5-FU. The maximum tolerated dose of oral 5-FU given with oraleniluracil (1.0 to 25 mg/m2) is substantially lower thanconventional 5-FU doses. In the presence of eniluracil,bioavailability of 5-FU has increased to approximately 100%, thehalf-life is prolonged to 4 to 6 hours, and systemic clearanceis reduced > 20-fold to values comparable the glomerularfiltration rate (46 to 58 mL/min/m2). Renal excretion(∼ 45% to 75%), instead of DPD-related catabolism, is theprincipal route of elimination of oral 5-FU given witheniluracil. Chronic daily administration of oral 5-FU 1.0mg/m2 twice daily with eniluracil 20 mg twice dailyproduces 5-FU steady-state concentrations (8–38 ng/mL) similarto those achieved with protracted intravenous administration onclinically relevant dose-schedules. On a daily × 5regimen, higher 5-FU AUC values are related to neutropenia,whereas elevated 5-FU AUC and steady-state concentrations arerelated to diarrhea when oral 5-FU is given daily with eniluracilon a chronic schedule. The pharmacokinetic behavior of oraleniluracil is similar to that for oral 5-FU. Administration ofeniluracil 10 to 20 mg twice daily completely inactivates DPDactivity both in peripheral blood mononuclear cells and incolorectal tumor tissue, and prolonged inhibition of DPD afterdiscontinuation of eniluracil treatment has been noted. In thepresence of eniluracil, oral administration of 5-FU is feasibleand variation in 5-FU exposure is reduced, with the anticipationof further reduction in variation as dosing guidelines based onrenal function are formulated.

clinical pharmacology dihydropyrimdine dehydrogenase eniluracil oral 5-FU pharmacokinetics 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sharyn D. Baker
    • 1
  1. 1.The Johns Hopkins Oncology CenterBaltimoreUSA

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