This non-randomized study reports pharmaco-clinical data on 5-FU administered by the widely used 5-day continuous infusion schedule to 42 patients with metastatic colorectal cancer; 5-FU was given by hepatic intra-arterial route (h.i.a.) at doses ranging from 800 to 1,450 mg/m2, and by a systemic intravenous route (i.v.) at doses ranging from 650 to 1,300 mg/m2. 5-FU blood levels were available for a total of 179 cycles. Toxicity was dose-dependent during h.i.a. cycles but not during i.v. cycles. For h.i.a. cycles, 1,000 mg/m2/day represented the threshold dose for tolerance. The individual total cycle drug concentration-time product might predict toxicity for both i.v. and h.i.a. cycle when the threshold is set at 30,000 ng/ml.hr. These data may be of practical value for improving the therapeutic index of 5-day continuous treatment by 5-FU given by i.v. or h.i.a. routes.