Thymidine phosphorylase (dThdPase) is an essential enzyme for the activation of the oral cytostatic drugs capecitabine (N(4)-pentyloxycarbonyl-5'-deoxy-5-fluorocytidine, Xeloda(trade mark)) and its intermediate metabolite doxifluridine [5'-deoxy-5-fluorouridine (5'-dFUrd, Furtulon((R)))] to 5-fluorouracil (5-FUra) in tumors. In a previous study, we found that several cytostatics were able to up-regulate tumor levels of dThdPase in a human colon cancer xenograft model. In the present study, we confirmed that the administration of cytostatics used for breast cancer treatment, such as taxanes and cyclophosphamide (CPA), up-regulated the tumor level of dThdPase in mammary tumor models as well. Because the dThdPase up-regulation was observed even when CPA was given orally, we investigated further the usefulness of combination therapy with the 2 oral drugs, 5'-dFUrd/capecitabine and CPA in mammary tumor models. Daily oral administration of CPA up-regulated human dThdPase levels in the tumor tissue of mice bearing a human mammary tumor xenograft, MX-1, whereas in the small intestine and liver, it did not affect levels of pyrimidine nucleoside phosphorylases (PyNPase) including dThdPase and uridine phosphorylase. The preferential up-regulation of PyNPase activity in the tumor by CPA administration was also confirmed in mice bearing a syngeneic murine mammary adenocarcinoma, A755. In both models, combination therapy of 5'-dFUrd/capecitabine with CPA showed synergistic antitumor activity, without significant potentiation of toxicity. In contrast, treatment with CPA and either 5-FUra or UFT (a mixture of tegafur and uracil) in combination showed only additive activity. Our results suggest that CPA and capecitabine/5'-dFUrd, both available for oral administration, would be good partners, and that clinical trials with this drug combination against breast cancer are warranted.
Copyright 1999 Wiley-Liss, Inc.