Current status of radiation sensitization by fluoropyrimidines

Oncology (Williston Park). 1995 Aug;9(8):707-14; discussion 714, 717-8, 721.


Numerous clinical studies suggest that the combination of the fluoropyridimine fluorouracil and radiation is a more effective treatment for many cancers, especially gastrointestinal tumors, than is either modality alone. Also, the combination of fluorouracil and radiation has greatly expanded the possibilities for organ-preserving treatments, for example, in patients with bladder cancer. Another fluoropyridimine, floxuridine, administered via the hepatic artery, has been used in combination with irradiation in the treatment of patients with intrahepatic cancers and may prolong survival in patients with unresectable hepatobiliary malignancies. The beneficial effects of combining fluoropyrimidines and radiation are thought to be due to radiosensitization. More studies are needed to clarify the mechanism(s) of radiosensitization so as to optimize regimens in which the fluoropyrimidines are used.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Apoptosis / radiation effects
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • DNA, Neoplasm / drug effects
  • DNA, Neoplasm / radiation effects
  • Digestive System Neoplasms / mortality
  • Digestive System Neoplasms / therapy
  • Floxuridine / administration & dosage
  • Floxuridine / pharmacology*
  • Fluorouracil / administration & dosage
  • Fluorouracil / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Radiation-Sensitizing Agents / pharmacology*
  • Survival Rate
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / drug effects
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / radiation effects
  • Urologic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Urologic Neoplasms / therapy


  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • Radiation-Sensitizing Agents
  • Floxuridine
  • Fluorouracil