Multicenter evaluation of a novel nanoparticle immunoassay for 5-fluorouracil on the Olympus AU400 analyzer

Ther Drug Monit. 2009 Dec;31(6):688-94. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181b866d0.


Background: 5-Fluorouracil (5-FU) is the most widely used chemotherapy drug, primarily against gastrointestinal, head and neck, and breast cancers. 5-FU has large pharmacokinetic variability resulting in unexpected toxicity or ineffective treatment. Therapeutic drug management of 5-FU minimizes toxicity and improves outcome. A nanoparticle-based immunoassay was developed to provide oncologists with a rapid, cost-effective tool for determining 5-FU plasma concentrations.

Methods: Monoclonal antibodies, bound to nanoparticles, were used to develop an immunoassay for the Olympus AU400. Assay precision, linearity, calibration stability, and limit of detection were run at multiple centers; interference, cross-reactivity, lower limit of quantitation and recovery at 1 center. Clinical samples collected from 4 cancer centers were analyzed for 5-FU concentrations by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry and compared with the immunoassay results.

Results: With calibrators from 0 to 1800 ng/mL 5-FU and autodilution, concentrations up to 9000 ng/mL could be determined. Time to first result was 10 minutes, and 400 samples per hour could be quantitated from a standard curve stored for >30 days. Imprecision across all laboratories was <5%, and the assay was linear upon dilution over the entire range. Cross-reactivities for dihydro-5-FU, uracil, capecitabine, and tegafur were <1%, 9.9%, 0.05%, and 0.23%, respectively. The limit of detection was 52 ng/mL with a lower limit of quantitation of 86 ng/mL. Assay results of clinical samples (93-1774 ng/mL) correlated with liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry results: (R = 0.9860, slope 1.035, intercept 10.87 ng/mL).

Conclusions: This novel immunoassay is suitable for quantitating 5-FU plasma concentrations with advantages of speed, small sample size, minimal sample pretreatment, and application on automated instrumentation. These advantages enable efficient therapeutic drug management of 5-FU in clinical practice.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Calibration
  • Drug Monitoring / methods
  • Fluorouracil / blood*
  • Humans
  • Immunoassay / economics
  • Immunoassay / instrumentation
  • Immunoassay / methods*
  • Limit of Detection
  • Nanoparticles
  • Nephelometry and Turbidimetry
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Time Factors


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Fluorouracil