Dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) deficiency with a defect of the pyrimidine catabolic pathway has recently become the focus of considerable attention, due to the severe 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) toxicities occurring in DPD deficiency patients. Studies also suggest that 5-FU toxicities could occur in another pyrimidine metabolic disorder, dihydropyrimidinuria (DHPuria). This study shows that urinary dihydrothymine (DHT) and thymine (THY) are useful indexes for detection of DPD deficiency and DHPuria. We measured urinary DHT and THY in 276 Japanese adults to establish reference ranges. When males and females were compared, both DHT and THY levels were found to be significantly higher in females. The reference ranges (mean +/- SD with logarithmic values) for males were found to be 1.56-5.70 micromol/g of creatinine for DHT and 0.40-1.47 micromol/g of creatinine for THY. The reference ranges for females were found to be 1.89-8.33 micromol/g of creatinine for DHT and 0.58-2.30 micromol/g of creatinine for THY. In addition to this study we analyzed a DPD deficiency case and a DHPuria case. In the DPD deficiency case, the THY concentrations of all urine samples were out of the reference range. However, uracil levels in most of the samples were within the normal range. The DHPuria case excreted large amounts of DHT and dihydrouracil, both out of the normal range.