5-Fluorouracil: mechanisms of action and clinical strategies

Daniel B Longley, D Paul Harkin, Patrick G Johnston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3049 Citations (Scopus)


5-fluorouracil (5-FU) is widely used in the treatment of cancer. Over the past 20 years, increased understanding of the mechanism of action of 5-FU has led to the development of strategies that increase its anticancer activity. Despite these advances, drug resistance remains a significant limitation to the clinical use of 5-FU. Emerging technologies, such as DNA microarray profiling, have the potential to identify novel genes that are involved in mediating resistance to 5-FU. Such target genes might prove to be therapeutically valuable as new targets for chemotherapy, or as predictive biomarkers of response to 5-FU-based chemotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)330-338
Number of pages9
JournalNature Reviews. Cancer
Publication statusPublished - May 2003


  • Animals
  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic
  • Biological Markers
  • Dihydrouracil Dehydrogenase (NADP)
  • Fluorouracil
  • Humans
  • Interferons
  • Microsatellite Repeats
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Oxidoreductases
  • RNA
  • Thymidine Phosphorylase
  • Thymidylate Synthase
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research


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