During a phase I trial of 3-day simultaneous continuous intravenous infusions of varying doses of fluorouracil (5FUra) and 7.7 mg/kg/d of dipyridamole, we examined the relationships between 5FUra dose and steady-state plasma concentration (Css) and the percentage reduction in WBCs, as well as the percentage frequency of stomatitis. The 5FUra was administered at doses ranging from 185 mg/m2/d times three to 3,600 mg/m2/d times three. In 42 patients, 86 cycles of 5FUra plus dipyridamole and 28 cycles of 5FUra alone were analyzed. The Css of 5FUra varied even within the same dose level. When patients receiving the same 5FUra dose were considered, the interpatient coefficient of variation of 5FUra Css in cycles of 5FUra plus dipyridamole was 23% +/- 4.2%. For courses of 5FUra alone, the coefficient of variation of 5FUra was 15.6% +/- 6.5%. When the occurrence of any degree of stomatitis was related to the Css 5FUra, with patients grouped in cohorts of 2-mumol/L increments, the following equations accurately described the frequency of stomatitis: for 5FUra plus dipyridamole, percentage frequency of stomatitis = 100(1-e-0.114Css), r2 = 0.88; for 5FUra alone, percentage frequency stomatitis = 100(1-e0.122Css), r2 = 0.80. When 5FUra dose was substituted for Css, these relationships were as follows: percentage frequency of stomatitis = 100(1-e-0.00031 [dose]), r2 = 0.85; and percentage frequency of stomatitis = 100(1-e-0.00051 [dose]), r2 = 0.80. When the relationship between the percentage reduction in WBC and Css 5FUra was examined, statistically significant relationships were also apparent: for 5FUra plus dipyridamole, percentage reduction in WBC = 100(1-e-0.085Css), r2 = 0.46; for 5FUra alone, percentage reduction in WBC = 100(1-e-0.060Css), r2 = 0.61. When 5FUra dose was substituted for Css, these relatinships were as follows: percentage reduction in WBC = 100(1-e-0.00023 [dose]), r2 = 0.40; percentage reduction in WBC = 100(1-e-0.00024 [dose]), r2 = 0.65. The relationship between either Css 5FUra or dose 5FUra and either stomatitis or myelosuppression were also well described by the modified Hill equation (J Theor Biol 20:171-201, 1968). These analyses indicate that it should be possible to develop therapeutic regimens wherein 5FUra is administered to achieve a targeted Css determined by the risk and severity of toxicity deemed acceptable.