Activity of continuous-infusion 5-fluorouracil in patients with advanced colorectal cancer clinically resistant to bolus 5-fluorouracil

Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 1993;33(2):179-80. doi: 10.1007/BF00685339.


We have recently demonstrated that continuous-infusion (CI) 5-fluorouracil (FU) eradicates human colon carcinoma cells made resistant to bolus FU in vitro. In addition, in the same experimental system, the mechanisms of resistance to pulse and CI FU were found to be different. These observations led us to test the clinical activity of a standard regimen of CI FU (300 mg/m2 per day) in a cohort of 15 patients with advanced measurable colorectal cancer who were in progression after having failed to respond to bolus treatment with FU alone (3 patients) or FU combined with high-dose 6-S-leucovorin (LV) (12 patients). The median age of the patients was 68 years, and their median Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status (ECOG PS) was 1. No myelotoxicity was observed. Mild diarrhea, mucositis, and vomiting occurred in 32%, 26%, and 19% of the patients, respectively, with no WHO grade 3 or 4 episodes being noted. In all, 6 of 15 patients complained of hand-foot syndrome, which was severe in 2 instances, lasting approximately 1 week. Overall, 1 partial response and 6 instances of disease stabilization, including 3 minor responses, were obtained both in patients who had been pretreated with pulse FU alone and in patients who had failed first-line treatment with FU + LV. Finally, 8 patients failed CI FU. In conclusion, these results, obtained in patients who were clearly progressing after having failed first-line treatment, support our experimental finding that resistance to bolus FU may be overcome by CI FU and extend this possibility to patients who are resistant to bolus treatment with FU + LV.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Drug Resistance
  • Female
  • Fluorouracil / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Male
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Fluorouracil