Thymidine phosphorylase (TP) is often induced in the tumour microenvironment by physiological and chemical stress. Its induction protects cells from apoptosis and helps cell survival by stimulating nucleoside metabolism and angiogenesis. Chemotherapy often upregulates TP, which acts in cell rescue; this result indicates that TP is a crucial therapeutic target. Clinical trials for metastatic diseases have shown that TP-targeting chemotherapy with fluorouracil derivatives greatly improves the effectiveness of conventional chemotherapy for not only response but also prognosis. This new idea, the improvement of TP-inducible therapy with TP-targeting therapy, should be further investigated for early disease states, and inhibitors of TP warrant extensive investigation.