Aim: To determine whether expression of certain enzymes related to 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) metabolism predicts 5-FU chemosensitivity in cholangiocarcinoma (CCA).
Methods: The histoculture drug response assay (HDRA) was performed using surgically resected CCA tissues. Tumor cell viability was determined morphologically with hematoxylin and eosin- and terminal deoxynucleotide transferase-mediated dUTP nick-end labeling-stained tissues. The mRNA expression of thymidine phosphorylase (TP), orotate phosphoribosyl transferase (OPRT), thymidylate synthase (TS), and dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) was determined with real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. The levels of gene expression and the sensitivity to 5-FU were evaluated.
Results: Twenty-three CCA tissues were obtained from patients who had been diagnosed with intrahepatic CCA and who underwent surgical resection at Srinagarind Hospital, Khon Kaen University from 2007 to 2009. HDRA was used to determine the response of these CCA tissues to 5-FU. Based on the dose-response curve, 200 μg/mL 5-FU was selected as the test concentration. The percentage of inhibition index at the median point was selected as the cut-off point to differentiate the responding and non-responding tumors to 5-FU. When the relationship between TP, OPRT, TS and DPD mRNA expression levels and the sensitivity of CCA tissues to 5-FU was examined, only OPRT mRNA expression was significantly correlated with the response to 5-FU. The mean expression level of OPRT was significantly higher in the responder group compared to the non-responder group (0.41 ± 0.25 vs 0.22 ± 0.12, P < 0.05).
Conclusion: OPRT mRNA expression may be a useful predictor of 5-FU chemosensitivity of CCA. Whether OPRT mRNA could be used to predict the success of 5-FU chemotherapy in CCA patients requires confirmation in patients.
Keywords: 5-fluorouracil; Chemosensitivity; Cholangiocarcinoma; Histoculture drug response assay; Orotate phosphoribosyl transferase.