Comparative toxicity of mitomycin C and 5-fluorouracil in vitro

Am J Ophthalmol. 1994 Sep 15;118(3):332-7. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9394(14)72957-5.


The adjunctive use of antimetabolites has revolutionized surgical procedures to correct glaucoma in the past decade. Although much is known about the in vitro and in vivo actions of 5-fluorouracil and mitomycin C, their use in the eye has raised new questions about cellular toxicity. For example, filtering blebs after a surgical procedure supplemented with mitomycin C are relatively avascular in comparison with those seen with 5-fluorouracil supplementation. We investigated the effect of 5-fluorouracil and mitomycin C on cultured capillary endothelial cells and fibroblasts. The viability and morphologic characteristics of 3T3 fibroblasts and capillary endothelial cells were studied in light of increasing doses of 5-fluorouracil and mitomycin. Both cell types showed similar sensitivity to mitomycin C. However, fibroblasts were far more sensitive to 5-fluorouracil than were the cultured microvascular endothelial cells. Thus 5-fluorouracil appears to be toxic to fibroblasts while sparing vascular endothelial cells, whereas mitomycin C is cytotoxic for both cell types.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • 3T3 Cells
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Endothelium, Vascular / cytology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / drug effects
  • Fibroblasts / cytology
  • Fibroblasts / drug effects
  • Fluorouracil / toxicity*
  • Mice
  • Mitomycin / toxicity*


  • Mitomycin
  • Fluorouracil