5-Fluorouracil: Molecular mechanisms of cell death

Daniel B. Longley, Patrick G. Johnston

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

15 Citations (Scopus)


5-Fluorouracil (5-FU) has been the mainstay of colorectal cancer treatment for over 40 years. However, response rates for 5-FU in advanced colorectal cancer are modest. Although combining 5-FU with the newer chemotherapeutic agents oxaliplatin and irinotecan has improved response rates, new therapeutic strategies are necessary. Understanding the molecular mechanism by which tumors become resistant to 5-FU is needed if drug resistance is to be overcome. Tumor drug resistance is often due to insufficient chemotherapy-induced cell death. In this chapter, we describe the mechanisms of action of 5-FU, focusing on 5-FU-induced cell death. In the future, strategies aimed at increasing the effectiveness of 5-FU may target the cell death and cell survival pathways that are activated by this drug.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationApoptosis, Cell Signaling, and Human Diseases
PublisherHumana Press
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)1588296776, 9781588296771
Publication statusPublished - 01 Dec 2007


  • 5-Fluorouracil
  • apoptosis
  • Bcl-2
  • death receptors
  • growth factor receptors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology


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