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1.  Clinical significance of the thymidylate synthase, dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase, and thymidine phosphorylase mRNA expressions in hepatocellular carcinoma patients receiving 5-fluorouracil-based transarterial chemoembolization treatment 
OncoTargets and therapy  2013;6:811-818.
To determine whether 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) sensitivity is associated with the mRNA expressions of thymidylate synthase (TS), dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD), and thymidine phosphorylase (TP) in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) treated with 5-FU-based transarterial chemoembolization (TACE).
Formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tumor specimens from 40 patients treated with 5-FU-based TACE were selected for the examination of TS, DPD, and TP expression level by a quantitative real-time reverse transcription- polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique. Patients were categorized into high and low expression groups according to the median expression level of each enzyme. Associations between the mRNA expression levels of TS, DPD, and TP and clinical parameters including treatment efficacies, clinicopathological factors, and prognosis were assessed.
High DPD expression was associated with worse treatment outcome, including intrahepatic disease progression rate (hazard ratio [HR] for high DPD versus low DPD, 2.212; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.030–4.753; P = 0.042), extrahepatic disease progression rate (HR for high versus low DPD, 3.171; 95% CI, 1.003–10.023; P = 0.049), and progression-free survival (HR for high versus low DPD, 2.308; 95% CI, 1.102–4.836; P = 0.027). No correlation was found between the mRNA expression of TS/TP and treatment outcome.
DPD mRNA expression level was negatively correlated with the clinical outcomes of HCC patients treated with 5-FU-based TACE. These results provide indirect evidence that high DPD mRNA expression is a predictive marker of treatment resistance for 5-FU.
PMCID: PMC3704606  PMID: 23861589
dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase; 5-fluorouracil; hepatocellular carcinoma; thymidylate synthase; thymidine phosphorylase; transarterial chemoembolization
2.  Prognostic significance of 5-fluorouracil metabolism-relating enzymes and enhanced chemosensitivity to 5-fluorouracil by 5-chloro 2,4-dihydroxy-pyridine in urothelial carcinoma 
BMC Cancer  2012;12:420.
Recently, S-1, a novel 5-fluorouracil (5-FU)-based agent containing the strong dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) inhibitor, 5-chloro-2,4-dihydropyrimidine (CDHP) has been clinically used to treat various non-urothelial carcinomas (UC). High levels of thymidylate synthase (TS), the target enzyme of 5-FU and DPD which degrades the majority of 5-FU, are associated with poor prognosis in some cancers. However, only a few reports have dealt with this in UC. The aim of this study was to investigate the clinical significance of TS and DPD in upper tract urothelial carcinoma (UTUC) and evaluate the role of TS and DPD on the sensitivity of 5-FU in UC cell lines and the anti-tumor effect of S-1 in UC xenograft model.
Firstly, we evaluated the immunohistochemical expression of TS and DPD in 176 patients with UTUC to determine their prognostic significance. Secondly, the levels of TS and DPD in UC cell lines were measured by ELISA and real-time PCR. Furthermore, the association between their levels and the sensitivity to 5-FU was examined using the small interfering RNA (siRNA) specific for TS and DPD. Thirdly, the anti-tumor effect of S-1 was evaluated in UC xenograft model.
Immunohistochemical evaluation of TS and DPD in UTUC human samples revealed that TS expression was significantly associated with stage, grade, and lymphovascular invasion and DPD expression was significantly associated with grade. Multivariate analysis revealed that high TS expression was an independent predictor of disease-specific survival in them. In in vitro study using UC cell lines, high levels of TS and DPD were associated with low response to 5-FU and these associations were confirmed with siRNA specific for TS and DPD. In in vivo study using UC xenograft model, S-1 treatment dramatically inhibited tumor growth compared to controls, tegafur, or UFT in UC tumor with a high level of DPD.
TS plays an important role in the prognosis of UTUC and S-1 may be a key agent for UC tumor, especially with a high level of DPD.
PMCID: PMC3522564  PMID: 22998564
Urothelial carcinoma; S-1; 5-fluorouracil; Thymidylate synthase; Dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase
3.  Expression level of dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase is associated with clinical outcome in patients with T1G3 bladder cancer treated with Bacillus Calmette-Guerin 
BMC Research Notes  2014;7(1):646.
Recently, it has been shown that 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) with a strong dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) inhibitor elicits a significant response in bladder cancer with a high level of DPD. However, only a few studies investigated the association between the level of the enzyme that regulates the metabolism of 5-FU and prognosis in bladder cancer. Furthermore, to our knowledge, there has also been no such report in T1G3 bladder tumors treated with BCG. Therefore, we evaluated enzymes that regulate the metabolism of 5-FU in T1G3 tumors treated with BCG immunotherapy using the Danenberg tumor profile (DTP) method, a highly accurate measurement of RNA from paraffin-embedded specimens.
This study included 28 patients with T1G3 bladder cancer, each of whom underwent complete transurethral tumor resection and BCG intravesical instillation at our institution. The median follow-up period was 39 months (range, 3 to 159 months). The DTP method was used to analyze the mRNA expression of 3 enzymes related to 5-FU: DPD, orotate phosphoribosyltransferase (OPRT), and thymidylate synthase (TS).
Among the 28 patients, 13 developed recurrences (46.4%) and 5 experienced disease progression (17.9%). An elevated DPD mRNA level was significantly associated with recurrence (p = 0.048) and progression (p = 0.045). However, TS and OPRT mRNA levels were not significantly associated with any other clinical features or outcomes. Furthermore, the high DPD group had a significantly lower recurrence-free survival rate than the low DPD group (p = 0.047). Among patients with low DPD, the 2- and 5-year recurrence-free survival rates were 88.9% and 74.1%, respectively; while among patients with high DPD, the corresponding rates were 61.3% and 36.8%, respectively. TS and OPRT were not significantly associated with recurrence-free survival rates.
DPD is significantly associated with recurrence and progression among T1G3 bladder cancer patients treated with BCG.
PMCID: PMC4169840  PMID: 25218240
Urothelial carcinoma; S-1; 5-fluorouracil; Dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase; Thymidylate synthase
4.  Evaluations of biomarkers associated with 5-FU sensitivity for non-small-cell lung cancer patients postoperatively treated with UFT 
British Journal of Cancer  2006;95(5):607-615.
The sensitivity to 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) has been reported to be associated with target molecule thymidylate synthase (TS), fluoropyrimidine-metabolising enzymes such as orotate phosphoribosyltransferase (OPRT), and dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD). We performed an immunohistochemical study on the clinical significance of TS, OPRT, and DPD expression using 151 resected non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients postoperatively treated with a combination of tegafur and uracil (UFT). Eighty-two carcinomas were TS-positive, 105 carcinomas were OPRT-positive, 68 carcinomas were DPD-positive. No correlation was observed in the HSCORE between the TS and OPRT expression (r=0.203), between the TS and DPD expression (r=0.098), or between the OPRT and DPD expression (r=0.074). Regarding the survival of NSCLC patients treated with UFT, the 5-year survival rate of patients with TS-negative tumours was significantly higher than that with TS-positive tumours (P=0.0133). The 5-year survival rate of patients with OPRT-positive stage II to III tumours was significantly higher than that with OPRT-negative stage II to III tumours (P=0.0145). In addition, the 5-year survival rate of patients with DPD-negative tumours was also significantly higher than that with DPD-positive tumours (P=0.0004). A Cox multivariate regression analysis revealed the TS status (hazard ratio 2.663; P=0.0003), OPRT status (hazard ratio 2.543; P=0.0005), and DPD status (hazard ratio 2.840; P<0.0001) to all be significant prognostic factors for the survival of resected NSCLC patients postoperatively treated with UFT.
PMCID: PMC2360692  PMID: 16880781
lung cancer; 5-FU; thymidylate synthase; orotate phosphoribosyltransferase; dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase
5.  Biomarker analysis in stage III–IV (M0) gastric cancer patients who received curative surgery followed by adjuvant 5-fluorouracil and cisplatin chemotherapy: epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) associated with favourable survival 
British Journal of Cancer  2009;100(5):732-738.
The aim of this study was to analyse the impact of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), thymidylate synthase (TS), dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD), thymidine phosphorylase (TP), aurora kinase (ARK) A/B, and excision repair cross-complementing gene 1 (ERCC1) on the efficacy of adjuvant chemotherapy with 5-fluorouracil and cisplatin (FP) after curative gastric resection. Normal and cancer tissue were separately obtained from gastrectomy samples of 153 patients with AJCC stage III–IV (M0) who subsequently treated with adjuvant FP chemotherapy. TS, DPD, TP, ERCC1, and ARK proteins were measured by immunohistochemistry (IHC). EGFR expression was investigated using a standardized IHC with the EGFR PharmDx assay. Amplification of EGFR gene was analysed using fluorescent in situ hybridisation (FISH). In multivariate analysis, stage, ratio of positive to removed lymph nodes, and EGFR expression were significant prognostic factors for overall survival. Patients with higher EGFR expression had better overall survival than those with lower expression (relative risk: 0.475 (95% confidence interval, 0.282–0.791, P=0.005). Low EGFR expression might be a predictive marker for relapse in curative resected stage III–IV (M0) gastric cancer patients who received adjuvant FP chemotherapy.
PMCID: PMC2653762  PMID: 19259093
gastric cancer; adjuvant chemotherapy; pharmacogenetics; epidermal growth factor receptor; thymidine phosphorylase; excision repair cross-complementing gene 1
6.  Impact of 5-fluorouracil metabolizing enzymes on chemotherapy in patients with resectable colorectal cancer 
Oncology Reports  2014;32(3):887-892.
Although 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) is an important drug for colorectal cancer (CRC) treatment, no useful biomarker is currently available to predict treatment response. Since 5-FU is converted into active or inactive forms by orotate phosphoribosyltransferase (OPRT) or dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD), a correlation between these enzymes and response to 5-FU has been suggested. However, such a correlation has not been investigated prospectively. Therefore, in the present study, we aimed to prospectively evaluate whether OPRT and DPD were predictive factors of the response to 5-FU treatment in patients with resectable CRC. The present investigation was designed as a multicenter prospective cohort study. OPRT and DPD activities were assessed in biopsy samples, obtained surgically from patients with resectable CRC. The OPRT/DPD ratio was calculated and the cut-off values for this ratio were determined for 5-year disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS). Patients were treated with 5-FU/leucovorin (LV) regimens and oral 5-FU. The endpoint of this study was the correlation between the OPRT/DPD ratio and 5-year DFS and OS. The cut-off value for the OPRT/DPD ratio was determined by using the maximum χ2 statistic method against 5-year DFS and OS. Sixty-eight patients were enrolled from July 2003 to May 2005. The median follow-up period was 1925 days. The OPRT/DPD ratio cut-off values for 5-year DFS and OS were 0.015 and 0.013, respectively. During the 5-year DFS and OS periods, patients with higher cut-off values had a better prognosis than those with lower ratios (P=0.03 and 0.02, respectively). In conclusion, our results suggest that the OPRT/DPD ratio could be a predictive factor for response to 5-FU/LV adjuvant chemotherapy.
PMCID: PMC4121408  PMID: 24994673
5-fluorouracil; orotate phosphoribosyltransferase; dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase; adjuvant chemotherapy; colorectal cancer
7.  A retrospective study on TS mRNA expression and prediction of the effects of adjuvant oral 5-fluorouracil in breast cancer 
Oncology Letters  2010;1(6):981-987.
Nucleic acid-metabolizing enzymes, such as thymidylate synthase (TS), dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD), thymidine phosphorylase (TP) and orotate phosphoribosyl transferase (OPRT), have attracted attention as candidates for response determinants of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU). Whether the expression levels of these enzymes can be adopted as valuable parameters for 5-FU sensitivity in breast cancer has yet to be elucidated. In the present study, intratumoral mRNA expression of TS, DPD, TP and OPRT were determined in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded surgical specimens collected from 217 breast cancer patients, using the Danenberg Tumor Profile method, which combines microdissection and real-time-polymerase chain reaction. The significance of these enzymes as prognostic and 5-FU efficacy-predicting factors was evaluated. Our data showed that a low DPD expression is related to a high nuclear grade and other factors including hormone receptor-negativity. Low expression levels of TP were found in hormone receptor-negative tumors. TS and OPRT expression were not related to various clinicopathological factors, but patients with a high TS mRNA expression showed a significantly poorer prognosis in cases where 5-FU was not administered. The efficacy of 5-FU was more significant when administered for more than 6 months in the group with a high TS mRNA expression. These data suggest that TS mRNA expression in breast cancer tissue is an ideal predictor of outcomes for patients with no administration of 5-FU, and of the efficacy of 5-FU.
PMCID: PMC3412476  PMID: 22870098
thymidylate synthase; breast cancer; 5-fluorouracil; real-time polymerase chain reaction
8.  Predictive value of orotate phosphoribosyltransferase in colorectal cancer patients receiving 5-FU-based chemotherapy 
Molecular and Clinical Oncology  2013;1(3):453-460.
Pretreatment knowledge of chemosensitivity and side-effects of chemotherapy for colorectal cancer (CRC) patients are likely to ensure the best chemotherapeutic outcome. The aim of this study was to identify additional predictive factors of chemosensitivity to the key CRC treatment drug 5-fluorouracil (5-FU). Surgically obtained specimens from 106 patients treated for CRC were immunohistochemically assessed to investigate the correlation between the protein expression of the 5-FU metabolic enzymes orotate phosphoribosyltransferase (OPRT), thymidylate synthase (TS) and dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD), and clinicopathological characteristics as well as the correlation between the protein expression and outcomes of 5-FU-based chemotherapy. A correlation was detected between the high expression of the 5-FU metabolic enzyme OPRT and negative lymph node metastasis (P=0.0496), as well as between DPD and advanced Tumor-Node-Metastasis (TNM) grade cases (IIIA–IVB) and positive lymph node metastases (P=0.0414, respectively). In all 106 patients and in 79 patients undergoing 5-FU-based chemotherapy, survival was improved in those patients with a positive OPRT expression (P=0.0144 and 0.0167, respectively). OPRT expression was higher in the 79 patients with no recurrence (P=0.0179) as well as in patients treated with R0 surgery and 5-FU-based chemotherapy without side-effects (P=0.0126). Disease-free survival (DFS) rate was higher in patients without side-effects, and in patients with a positive OPRT expression without side-effects (P=0.0021 and 0.0031, respectively). Findings of this study demonstrated that OPRT expression positively correlated with fewer side-effects of 5-FU-based chemotherapy and longer patient survival.
PMCID: PMC3915693  PMID: 24649191
orotate phosphoribosyltransferase; 5-fluorouracil-based chemotherapy; prognosis; side-effect
9.  Microsatellite instability in colorectal cancer and association with thymidylate synthase and dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase expression 
BMC Cancer  2009;9:25.
Microsatellite instability (MSI) refers to mutations in short motifs of tandemly repeated nucleotides resulting from replication errors and deficient mismatch repair (MMR). Colorectal cancer with MSI has characteristic biology and chemosensitivity, however the molecular basis remains unclarified. The association of MSI and MMR status with outcome and with thymidylate synthase (TS) and dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) expression in colorectal cancer were evaluated.
MSI in five reference loci, MMR enzymes (hMSH2, hMSH6, hMLH1 and hPMS2), thymidylate synthase (TS) and dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) expression were assessed in paraffin embedded tumor specimens, and associated with outcome in 340 consecutive patients completely resected for colorectal cancer stages II-IV and subsequently receiving adjuvant 5-fluorouracil therapy.
MSI was found in 43 (13.8%) tumors. Absence of repair protein expression was assessed in 52 (17.0%) tumors, which had primarily lost hMLH1 in 39 (12.7%), hMSH2 in 5 (1.6%), and hMSH6 in 8 (2.6%) tumors. In multivariate analysis MSI (instable) compared to MSS (stable) tumors were significantly associated with lower risk of recurrence (hazard ratio (HR) = 0.3; 95% CI: 0.2–0.7; P = 0.0007) and death (HR = 0.4; 95% CI: 0.2–0.9; P = 0.02) independently of the TS and DPD expressions. A direct relationship between MSI and TS intensity (P = 0.001) was found, while there was no significant association with DPD intensity (P = 0.1).
The favourable outcome of MSI colorectal carcinomas is ascribed mainly to the tumor biology and to a lesser extent to antitumor response to 5-fluorouracil therapy. There is no evidence that differential TS or DPD expression may account for these outcome characteristics.
PMCID: PMC2647942  PMID: 19154585
10.  Study protocol of the B-CAST study: a multicenter, prospective cohort study investigating the tumor biomarkers in adjuvant chemotherapy for stage III colon cancer 
BMC Cancer  2013;13:149.
Adjuvant chemotherapy for stage III colon cancer is internationally accepted as standard treatment with established efficacy. Several oral fluorouracil (5-FU) derivatives with different properties are available in Japan, but which drug is the most appropriate for each patient has not been established. Although efficacy prediction of 5-FU derivatives using expression of 5-FU activation/metabolism enzymes in tumors has been studied, it has not been clinically applied.
The B-CAST study is a multicenter, prospective cohort study aimed to identify the patients who benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy with each 5-FU regimen, through evaluating the relationship between tumor biomarker expression and treatment outcome. The frozen tumor specimens of patients with stage III colon cancer who receives postoperative adjuvant chemotherapy are examined. Protein expression of thymidine phosphorylase (TP), dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD), epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) are evaluated using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). mRNA expression of TP, DPD, thymidylate synthase (TS) and orotate phosphoribosyl transferase (OPRT) are evaluated using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). The patients’ clinical data reviewed are as follow: demographic and pathological characteristics, regimen, drug doses and treatment duration of adjuvant therapy, types and severity of adverse events, disease free survival, relapse free survival and overall survival. Then, relationships among the protein/mRNA expression, clinicopathological characteristics and the treatment outcomes are analyzed for each 5-FU derivative.
A total of 2,128 patients from the 217 institutions were enrolled between April 2009 and March 2012. The B-CAST study demonstrated that large-scale, multicenter translational research using frozen samples was feasible when the sample shipment and Web-based data collection were well organized. The results of the study will identify the predictors of benefit from each 5-FU derivative, and will contribute to establish the “personalized therapy” in adjuvant chemotherapy for colon cancer.
Trial registration NCT00918827, UMIN Clinical Trials Registry (UMIN-CTR) UMIN000002013
PMCID: PMC3618253  PMID: 23530572
Colon cancer; Adjuvant chemotherapy; 5-FU; Personalized therapy; Cohort study; Translational research; Thymidine phosphorylase (TP); Thymidylate synthase (TS); Dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD); Orotate phosphoribosyl transferase (OPRT)
11.  Clinical implications of thymidylate synthetase, dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase and orotate phosphoribosyl transferase activity levels in colorectal carcinoma following radical resection and administration of adjuvant 5-FU chemotherapy 
BMC Cancer  2008;8:188.
A number of studies have investigated whether the activity levels of enzymes involved in 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) metabolism are prognostic factors for survival in patients with colorectal carcinoma. Most reports have examined thymidylate synthetase (TS) and dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) in unresectable or metastatic cases, therefore it is unclear whether the activity of these enzymes is of prognostic value in colorectal cancer patients treated with radical resection and adjuvant chemotherapy with 5-FU.
This study examined fresh frozen specimens of colorectal carcinoma from 40 patients who had undergone curative operation and were orally administered adjuvant tegafur/uracil (UFT) chemotherapy. TS, DPD and orotate phosphoribosyl transferase (OPRT) activities were assayed in cancer tissue and adjacent normal tissue and their association with clinicopathological variables was investigated. In addition, the relationships between TS, DPD and OPRT activities and patient survival were examined to determine whether any of these enzymes could be useful prognostic factors.
While there was no clear relationship between pathological findings and TS or DPD activity, OPRT activity was significantly lower in tumors with lymph node metastasis than in tumors lacking lymph node metastasis. Postoperative survival was significantly better in the groups with low TS activity and/or high OPRT activity.
TS and OPRT activity levels in tumor tissue may be important prognostic factors for survival in Dukes' B and C colorectal carcinoma with radical resection and adjuvant chemotherapy with UFT.
PMCID: PMC2491633  PMID: 18597678
12.  Possibility of using mRNA expression levels for nucleic acid-metabolizing enzymes within prostate cancer cells as indices for prognostic factors 
Oncology Letters  2010;1(6):1049-1053.
Thymidylate synthase (TS), dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD), thymidine phosphorylase (TP) and orotate phosphoribosyl transferase (OPRT) are enzymes involved in nucleic acid metabolism. It has been reported (based on observations of various tumor types) that the extent of the mRNA expression of these enzymes within tumor tissues may be used as a factor to define tumor prognosis. It has also been reported that the mRNA expression patterns differ in each type of tumor. However, few reports are available on the distribution of mRNA expression in prostate cancers. This study was conducted on tissue specimens obtained from 172 patients who were diagnosed with prostate cancer and had undergone total prostatectomies. The mRNA expression of TS, DPD, OPRT and TP was quantitatively analyzed using the Danenberg tumor profile (DTP) method. The results were used to examine the correlations between the distributions of the mRNAs and clinicopathological factors, as well as the significance of their expression as a prognostic factor. Patients with poorly differentiated cancers in their tissues showed a significant increase in the mRNA expression of TS and OPRT. The increases in the TP mRNA content were proportional to an increase in the Gleason scores. The prognosis was significantly poorer in those cases with a high expression of TS or OPRT mRNA and a low expression of DPD mRNA. In conclusion, the expression levels of mRNAs for TS, DPD and OPRT among the enzymes related to nucleic acid metabolism are useful as prognostic factors in patients with prostate cancers.
PMCID: PMC3412509  PMID: 22870111
thymidylate synthase; dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase; thymidine phosphorylase; orotate phosphoribosyl transferase; prostate cancer; prognostic factor
13.  Higher expression of deoxyuridine triphosphatase (dUTPase) may predict the metastasis potential of colorectal cancer 
Journal of Clinical Pathology  2008;62(4):364-369.
5-Fluorouracil (5-FU) is one of the most widely used anticancer drugs; however, the activity of 5-FU is determined by the presence of several enzymes that limit its activation or degradation, and these include dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD), orotate phosphoribosyl transferase (OPRT), thymidylate synthase (TS), thymidine kinase (TK), thymidine phosphorylase (TP) and deoxyuridine triphosphatase (dUTPase). The aim of this study was to compare the expression levels of these enzymes between the primary colorectal cancer of patients with and without distant metastases. Furthermore, there was a comparison of these expression levels between the primary tumour and the corresponding metastasis.
Of 55 patients with colorectal cancer, 20 had no metastasis and the other 35 had distant metastasis. A strong expression was classified as positive, while weak to moderate or no expression was negative by immunohistochemistry.
Of the six 5-FU-related enzymes, the numbers of patients with expression of dUTPase (54% versus 15%; p = 0.005), TK (26% versus 0%; p = 0.019) and DPD (17% versus 45%; p = 0.033) were significantly different in those with primary tumours with metastasis compared with those with non-metastasis, respectively. The altered expression of OPRT (34.3%), TS (40.0%) and dUTPase (42.9%) was significantly greater from primary to metastasis among the 35 patients with metastasis. By contrast, the expression of OPRT, TS and dUTPase was decreased in 6, 5 and 7 patients, respectively, in metastatic sites.
From this comparative study of the six 5-FU-related enzymes in colorectal cancer, the expression of dUTPase was most significantly different between primary tumours and their corresponding metastatic tumour. It is suggested that dUTPase may be a predictive biomarker for the metastatic potential of colorectal cancer.
PMCID: PMC2656677  PMID: 19052026
14.  Thymidylate synthase, dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase, ERCC1, and thymidine phosphorylase gene expression in primary and metastatic gastrointestinal adenocarcinoma tissue in patients treated on a phase I trial of oxaliplatin and capecitabine 
BMC Cancer  2008;8:386.
Over-expression of thymidylate synthase (TS) and dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) in tumor tissue is associated with insensitivity to 5-fluorouracil (5-FU). Over-expression of ERCC1 correlates with insensitivity to oxaliplatin (OX) therapy, while high thymidine phosphorylase (TP) levels predict for increased sensitivity to capecitabine (Xel).
Biopsies of metastatic tumor were taken before OX (130 mg/m2 day 1) given with Xel (1200–3000 mg/m2 in two divided doses days 1–5 and 8–12) every 3-weeks. Micro-dissected metastatic and primary tumors were analyzed for relative gene expression by real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction. The clinical protocol prospectively identified the molecular targets of interest that would be tested. Endpoints for the molecular analyses were correlation of median, first and third quartiles for relative gene expression of each target with response, time to treatment failure (TTF), and survival.
Among 91 patients participating in this trial; 97% had colorectal cancer. The median number of prior chemotherapy regimens was 2, and most had prior 5-FU and irinotecan. In paired samples, median mRNA levels were significantly higher in metastatic versus primary tumor (-fold): TS (1.9), DPD (3.8), ERCC1 (2.1) and TP (1.6). A strong positive correlation was noted between DPD and TP mRNA levels in both primary (r = 0.693, p < 0.0005) and metastatic tissue (r = 0.697, p < 0.00001). There was an association between TS gene expression and responsive and stable disease: patients whose intratumoral TS mRNA levels were above the median value had significantly greater risk of early disease progression (43% vs 17%), but this did not translate into a significant difference in TTF. ERCC1 gene expression above the third quartile was associated with a shorter TTF (median 85 vs 162 days, p = 0.046). Patients whose TS mRNA levels in metastatic tumor tissue were below the median had a longer overall survival (median 417 vs 294 days, p = 0.042).
Target gene expression in primary tumor was significantly lower than that in paired metastatic tissue. High ERCC1 mRNA levels in metastatic tumor was associated with a shorter TTF. Lower expression of TS mRNA correlated with a lower chance of early PD with XelOX therapy and improved overall survival.
PMCID: PMC2637882  PMID: 19105824
15.  Prognostic significance of thymidylate synthase, thymidine phosphorylase and dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase expression in biliary tract cancer patients receiving adjuvant 5-fluorouracil-based chemotherapy 
Molecular and Clinical Oncology  2013;1(6):987-994.
Biliary tract cancer (BTC) is a relatively uncommon type of cancer, accounting for ∼4% of the malignant neoplasms of the gastrointestinal tract. The aim of this study was to determine whether the expression of thymidylate synthase (TS), thymidine phosphorylase (TP) and dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) predict clinical outcome in BTC patients treated with adjuvant 5-fluorouracil (5-FU)-based chemotherapy. TS and TP expression were found to be significantly correlated with cancer location (P=0.044 and 0.031, respectively). The multivariate analysis revealed that age [hazard ratio (HR)=2.157, P=0.008], stage (HR=2.234, P<0.001), resection margin status (HR=2.748, P=0.004) and TP expression (HR=2.014, P=0.039) were independently associated with overall survival (OS).
PMCID: PMC3915652  PMID: 24649282
biliary tract cancer; 5-fluorouracil; thymidine phosphorylase
16.  Upregulation of ERCC1 and DPD expressions after oxaliplatin-based first-line chemotherapy for metastatic colorectal cancer 
British Journal of Cancer  2012;107(12):1950-1955.
The updated randomised phase 2/3 FIRIS study demonstrated the noninferiority of IRIS (irinotecan and S-1) to FOLFIRI (irinotecan, folinic acid, and 5-FU) for metastatic colorectal cancer. Meanwhile, in the subset analysis including patients who previously have undergone oxaliplatin-containing chemotherapy, the IRIS group showed longer survival than the FOLFIRI group. However, the molecular mechanism underlying this result is still unknown.
The National Cancer Institute 60 (NCI60) cell line panel data were utilised to build the hypothesis. A total of 45 irinotecan-naive metastatic colorectal cancer patients who had undergone hepatic resection were included for the validation study. The mRNA expressions of excision repair cross-complementing group 1 (ERCC1), dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD), and topoisomerase-1 (TOP1) were evaluated by quantitative RT–PCR. The expressions of ERCC1 and DPD were also evaluated by immunohistochemistry.
Sensitivity to oxaliplatin in 60 cell lines was significantly correlated with that of 5-FU. Resistant cells to oxaliplatin showed significantly higher ERCC1 and DPD expression than sensitive cells. In validation study, ERCC1 and DPD but not TOP1 expressions in cancer cells were significantly higher in FOLFOX (oxaliplatin, folinic acid, and 5-FU)-treated patients (N=24) than nontreated patients (N=21). The ERCC1 and DPD protein expressions were also significantly higher in FOLFOX-treated patients.
The ERCC1 and DPD expression levels at both mRNA and protein levels were significantly higher in patients with oxaliplatin as a first-line chemotherapy than those without oxaliplatin. The IRIS regimens with the DPD inhibitory fluoropyrimidine may show superior activity against DPD-high tumours (e.g., tumours treated with oxaliplatin) compared with FOLFIRI.
PMCID: PMC3516688  PMID: 23169295
DPD; ERCC1; metastatic colorectal cancer; National Cancer Institute; oxaliplatin
17.  Somatic copy number changes in DPYD are associated with lower risk of recurrence in triple-negative breast cancers 
British Journal of Cancer  2013;109(9):2347-2355.
Genomic rearrangements at the fragile site FRA1E may disrupt the dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase gene (DPYD) which is involved in 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) catabolism. In triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), a subtype of breast cancer frequently deficient in DNA repair, we have investigated the susceptibility to acquire copy number variations (CNVs) in DPYD and evaluated their impact on standard adjuvant treatment.
DPYD CNVs were analysed in 106 TNBC tumour specimens using multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) analysis. Dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) expression was determined by immunohistochemistry in 146 tumour tissues.
In TNBC, we detected 43 (41%) tumour specimens with genomic deletions and/or duplications within DPYD which were associated with higher histological grade (P=0.006) and with rearrangements in the DNA repair gene BRCA1 (P=0.007). Immunohistochemical analysis revealed low, moderate and high DPD expression in 64%, 29% and 7% of all TNBCs, and in 40%, 53% and 7% of TNBCs with DPYD CNVs, respectively. Irrespective of DPD protein levels, the presence of CNVs was significantly related to longer time to progression in patients who had received 5-FU- and/or anthracycline-based polychemotherapy (hazard ratio=0.26 (95% CI: 0.07–0.91), log-rank P=0.023; adjusted for tumour stage: P=0.037).
Genomic rearrangements in DPYD, rather than aberrant DPD protein levels, reflect a distinct tumour profile associated with prolonged time to progression upon first-line chemotherapy in TNBC.
PMCID: PMC3817342  PMID: 24104963
DPYD; BRCA1; copy number changes; fragile sites; triple-negative breast cancer
18.  Impact of dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase and γ-glutamyl hydrolase on the outcomes of patients treated with gemcitabine or S-1 as adjuvant chemotherapy for advanced pancreatic cancer 
Gene expression analyses may play useful roles in determining the prognosis of cancer patients and in selecting antitumor drugs. This retrospective study examined potential prognostic factors in patients with pancreatic cancer who received adjuvant chemotherapy after surgery. The study group consisted of 79 patients who had received gemcitabine or S-1 as adjuvant chemotherapy for advanced pancreatic cancer. Using laser-captured microdissection and real-time RT-PCR assay, we quantitatively evaluated the mRNA levels of 10 genes associated with patient prognosis and sensitivity to chemotherapy using paraffin-embedded specimens of the primary tumors resected before the start of adjuvant chemotherapy. In univariate analyses, a low gene expression level of γ-glutamyl hydrolase (GGH) and a high gene expression level of folylpolyglutamate synthase correlated with a favorable outcome. In a multivariate analysis, a low gene expression level of dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) and GGH significantly correlated with outcome (hazard ratio of the high DPD group to the low DPD group: 5.55; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.27–24.05; P=0.022; the high GGH group to the low GGH group: 3.77; 95% CI 1.04–13.79, P=0.043). For adjuvant chemotherapy of patients with pancreatic cancer, the mRNA level of DPD and GGH may affect the prognosis of these patients.
PMCID: PMC3440788  PMID: 22977627
pancreatic cancer; prognostic factors; adjuvant chemotherapy; gene expression analysis; retrospective study
19.  Expression Levels of Thymidylate Synthase, Thymidylate Phosphorylase and Dihydropyrimidine Dehydrogenase in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma: Preliminary Study 
Pharyngo-laryngeal tumors classified as T3-4, N0-3, M0, are conventionally treated by mutilating surgery (total (pharyngo)-laryngectomy). Neo-adjuvant chemotherapy with 5-FU/platinum salt can be proposed in an attempt to preserve the larynx. The level of the response to chemotherapy ranges from 36 to 54% of cases. Thus, a large number of patients receive chemotherapy that is ineffective and not free from adverse effects. Three main enzymes are involved in the metabolism of 5-FU: thymidylate synthase (TS), thymidylate phosphorylase (TP) and dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD). Several studies suggest that a high level of expression of these three genes correlates with a poor clinical response to 5-FU. The main purpose of our study was to look for a correlation between the levels of expression of the genes for sensitivity to 5-FU (TS, TP, DPD) within the tumor and the clinical response observed after three courses of chemotherapy combining 5-FU/platinum salt in patients presenting with advanced cancer of the pharyngo-larynx.
This was a prospective genetic study that had required approval from the Ethics Committee. The main assessment criterion was based on the assessment of the clinical response by an ENT panendoscopy and a cervical CT scan, after three courses of chemotherapy. The expression of the genes was determined by quantitative RT-PCR, using total RNA extracted from tumor biopsies taken during the initial panendoscopy.
The means calculated, in our study, for the three genes of interest (TS, TP, DPD) were lower in the responder group than those in the non-responder group.
Our preliminary findings reveal trends that confirm the hypothesis that the lower the level of expression of the sensitivity genes, the better the clinical response to chemotherapy. They now form part of a larger study that is currently in progress.
PMCID: PMC3161652  PMID: 21892263
5-FU; genes of sensitivity; chemotherapy; squamous cell carcinoma; pharyngolarynx
20.  Characterization of dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase in human colorectal tumours. 
British Journal of Cancer  1998;77(3):461-465.
Dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) is the rate-limiting enzyme for degradation of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU). DPD activity is highly variable in liver and peripheral mononuclear cells (PMNCs) and it has not been well studied in human tumours. Characterization of DPD in colorectal cancer is of clinical interest through its role in the regulation of 5-FU, the main chemotherapeutic agent used in this disease. Therefore, DPD activity was analysed in colorectal tumour and adjacent normal tissue from 63 patients, including three liver metastasis. DPD activity was highly variable in all tissues studied (coefficient of variation 43-61%) and was higher in normal tissue than in tumour. The tumour-normal activity ratio ranged from 0.19 to 3.32 (median 0.76). PMNC DPD activity was available for 57 patients and was correlated with tumour activity (r(s) = 0.29, P < 0.001). A higher correlation was observed between PMNCs and tumour samples that were both obtained in the morning (r(s) = 0.49), consistent with circadian variation in DPD activity. Normal tissue DPD activity was not correlated with either tumour (r(s) = 0.11) or PMNC activity (r(s) = -0.06). This study provides the first analysis of DPD activity in colorectal cancer and illustrates the large degree of variation in tumour activity. The tumour-normal activity ratio results suggest that elevated tumour DPD can play a role in 5-FU resistance through increased inactivation in tumour cells, but is an uncommon event in colorectal tumours. The results support the use of PMNCs for monitoring tumour DPD activity, particularly when circadian variation is taken into account. As a large degree of the variation in tumour DPD activity is not explained by PMNC activity, more accurate alternatives are needed before DPD activity can be used for targeting 5-FU therapy.
PMCID: PMC2151304  PMID: 9472644
Gynecologic oncology  2006;104(3):572-579.
To evaluate the anti-tumor activity and adverse events of capecitabine in advanced, persistent or recurrent squamous cell carcinoma of the cervix, and to explore biomarkers with the potential to predict capecitabine response and toxicity.
Experimental Design
Eligible, consenting patients were treated with a starting dose of 2500 mg/m2/day or 1800 mg/m2/day(divided into two doses given every 12 hours) for 14 days of each 21-day cycle. Prior chemotherapy was allowed only in the context of radiation “sensitization”. Genotyping in the 5’ and 3’ ends of thymidylate synthase (TS) was performed in DNA from pre-treatment blood. Relative gene expression of TS, dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) and thymidine phosphorylase (TP) was quantified in RNA extracted from paraffin-embedded tumor.
All patients had prior radiotherapy and 22 received a radiation sensitizer. A partial response was observed in 4 of 26 (15%) evaluable patients. An additional 35% of patients achieved stable disease while 42% experienced increasing disease. The most common serious non hematological toxicities were gastrointestinal and dermatologic. Exploratory analyses suggested that: a germline polymorphism in the 3’ or the 5’ end of TS was not associated with TS gene expression, relative tumor expression of TS, DPD and TP were not correlated, and relative tumor expression of TP may predict severe anemia.
Based on the modest response rate, this trial was closed without a second stage of accrual; single agent capecitabine was not selected for further study in advanced persistent or recurrent squamous cell carcinoma of the cervix previously treated with radiation or chemoradiation.
PMCID: PMC1858667  PMID: 17049588
Capecitabine; xeloda; cervical cancer; TS; DPD; TP; biomarkers
22.  Thymidylate synthase and thymidine phosphorylase mRNA expression in primary lesions using laser capture microdissection is useful for prediction of the efficacy of FOLFOX treatment in colorectal cancer patients with liver metastasis 
Oncology Letters  2012;3(5):983-989.
Chemotherapy with FOLFOX, which is a combination of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU)/leucovorin (LV) and oxaliplatin, has been used worldwide for the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer patients. The aim of this study was to examine the candidates for predictors of the efficacy of the FOLFOX treatment regimen in colorectal cancer patients with liver metastasis, using formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded specimens. We investigated the mRNA levels of thymidylate synthase (TS), thymidine phosphorylase (TP), dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD), orotate phosphoribosyltransferase (OPRT) and excision repair cross-complementing 1 (ERCC1) in 70 primary lesions and 30 liver metastatic lesions of colorectal cancer patients, using laser capture microdissection and real-time PCR methods. We then analyzed the correlation between their expression in primary lesions and those in corresponding liver metastatic lesions (n=30) and the relationship between their expression in the primary lesions and the efficacy of mFOLFOX6 in 45 colorectal cancer patients with unresectable liver metastasis. The gene expression in primary lesions positively correlated with those in corresponding liver metastatic lesions. The profiles of gene expression of primary lesions strongly correlated with those of synchronous liver metastatic lesions compared to that of metachronous liver metastatic lesions. TS and TP mRNA levels in the patients with complete response, partial response or stable disease (n=34) were significantly lower compared to those in the patients with progressive disease (n=11) (p=0.017 and p=0.04, respectively). Our results indicated that TS and TP mRNA expression profiles in primary lesions are sufficient to estimate the mRNA expression profiles in synchronous liver metastatic lesions compared to metachronous liver metastatic lesions. Additionally, these profiles may be useful predictors in the identification of eligible colorectal cancer patients with liver metastasis for FOLFOX treatment.
PMCID: PMC3389669  PMID: 22783377
FOLFOX; colorectal cancer; thymidylate synthase; thymidine phosphorylase; excision repair cross-complementing 1; laser capture microdissection
23.  Orotate phosphoribosyl transferase mRNA expression and the response of cholangiocarcinoma to 5-fluorouracil 
AIM: To determine whether expression of certain enzymes related to 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) metabolism predicts 5-FU chemosensitivity in cholangiocarcinoma (CCA).
METHODS: The histoculture drug response assay (HDRA) was performed using surgically resected CCA tissues. Tumor cell viability was determined morphologically with hematoxylin and eosin- and terminal deoxynucleotide transferase-mediated dUTP nick-end labeling-stained tissues. The mRNA expression of thymidine phosphorylase (TP), orotate phosphoribosyl transferase (OPRT), thymidylate synthase (TS), and dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) was determined with real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. The levels of gene expression and the sensitivity to 5-FU were evaluated.
RESULTS: Twenty-three CCA tissues were obtained from patients who had been diagnosed with intrahepatic CCA and who underwent surgical resection at Srinagarind Hospital, Khon Kaen University from 2007 to 2009. HDRA was used to determine the response of these CCA tissues to 5-FU. Based on the dose-response curve, 200 μg/mL 5-FU was selected as the test concentration. The percentage of inhibition index at the median point was selected as the cut-off point to differentiate the responding and non-responding tumors to 5-FU. When the relationship between TP, OPRT, TS and DPD mRNA expression levels and the sensitivity of CCA tissues to 5-FU was examined, only OPRT mRNA expression was significantly correlated with the response to 5-FU. The mean expression level of OPRT was significantly higher in the responder group compared to the non-responder group (0.41 ± 0.25 vs 0.22 ± 0.12, P < 0.05).
CONCLUSION: OPRT mRNA expression may be a useful predictor of 5-FU chemosensitivity of CCA. Whether OPRT mRNA could be used to predict the success of 5-FU chemotherapy in CCA patients requires confirmation in patients.
PMCID: PMC3419992  PMID: 22912546
Histoculture drug response assay; 5-fluorouracil; Cholangiocarcinoma; Orotate phosphoribosyl transferase; Chemosensitivity
24.  A Phase II Study of Modulated-Capecitabine and Docetaxel in Chemonaive Patients with Advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) 
This phase II single-arm trial of docetaxel and capecitabine in previously untreated non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients was designed to evaluate response rate of this regimen based on promising efficacy data from phase II testing in pre-treated NSCLC patients. The trial also evaluated the correlation between peripheral blood dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) expression and efficacy/toxicity.
Patients with advanced NSCLC (metastatic, including malignant pleural effusion) without prior chemotherapy were enrolled. Baseline DPD screening was performed; patients with baseline DPD level < 0.07 nmol/min/mg protein were considered ineligible for the study. Treatment included a 28-day cycle of docetaxel 36 mg/m2 days 1, 8, 15 and capecitabine 1250 mg/m2/day in divided doses on days 5–18. Overall response rate (RR) was the primary endpoint with a target RR of 50%. Correlative studies included evaluation of DPD activity levels in peripheral blood and correlation with clinical responses.
Twenty-eight patients received 86 cycles of treatment (median 3 cycles) and were evaluable for response. The RR was 18% (5 patients); RR did not meet the pre-specified efficacy endpoint and the trial was stopped. 14 patients had stable disease (SD - 50%) and 4 pts had SD > 12 weeks. Median time to progression was 3.3 months (95% CI 1.5 – 4.6 months). Median overall survival was 10.5 months (95% CI: 3.2 – 15 months). Main toxicities included fatigue, stomatitis and leukopenia. DPD levels ranged from 0.06 to 0.26 nmol/min/mg. The majority of responders (4/5) had DPD levels ≤ 0.1 nmol/min/mg. Most of the responders (4/5) experienced grade 3 toxicities including leukopenia, dehydration, fatigue, and diarrhea. None of the patients (0/4) with higher DPD levels (>0.2 nmol/min/mg) had a response.
The response rate for the regimen did not demonstrate sufficient activity and further study of this regimen in this setting is not indicated. Interestingly, the results suggest that low DPD expression may be associated with response to capecitabine but also with increased toxicity.
PMCID: PMC3549571  PMID: 23079156
non-small cell lung cancer; dihydropyrimidine deficiency; capecitabine
25.  Effects of smoking and alcohol consumption on 5-fluorouracil-related metabolic enzymes in oral squamous cell carcinoma 
Molecular and Clinical Oncology  2014;2(3):429-434.
Lifestyle, particularly smoking and alcohol consumption, may induce and/or inhibit drug metabolism. In order to reveal the effects of smoking and alcohol consumption on the 5-fluorouracil (5-FU)-related metabolic enzymes, namely thymidylate synthase, dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD; a sole catabolic enzyme of 5-FU), orotate phosphoribosyl transferase (OPRT) and thymidine phosphorylase, in oral squamous cell carcinomas, the mRNA expression of these enzymes was investigated in 29 surgical specimens and compared by the Brinkman index and drinking years. The surgical specimens were divided into normal and tumor regions and were independently analyzed using quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. There was a significantly positive correlation between DPD mRNA expression in these tissues and Brinkman index/drinking years, with OPRT mRNA expression being significantly correlated to the Brinkman index in tumor tissues. These results revealed that lifestyle habits, including smoking and alcohol consumption, may vary the activity of the 5-FU-related metabolic enzymes. DPD is the initial and rate-limiting enzyme in the catabolic pathway of 5-FU. Therefore, smoking and alcohol consumption may reduce the anticancer activity of 5-FU, possibly through the induction of DPD activity.
PMCID: PMC3999128  PMID: 24772313
smoking; alcohol; Brinkman index; 5-fluorouracil metabolic enzymes; dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase; oral squamous cell carcinoma

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