Dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase deficiency: a pharmacogenetic defect causing severe adverse reactions to 5-fluorouracil-based chemotherapy.

G. B. Morrison, A. Bastian, T. Dela Rosa, R. B. Diasio, C. H. Takimoto

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

38 Scopus citations

Abstract

PURPOSE/OBJECTIVES: To describe the pharmacogenetic syndrome of dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) deficiency, which predisposes patients with cancer to potentially lethal adverse reactions following 5-fluorouracil (5-FU)-based chemotherapy. DATA SOURCES: Published articles, abstracts, and conference proceedings. DATA SYNTHESIS: Genetic deficiencies in DPD, the rate-limiting enzyme responsible for 5-FU catabolism, may occur in 3% or more of patients with cancer putting them at increased risk for unusually severe adverse reactions (e.g., diarrhea, stomatitis, mucositis, myelosuppression, neurotoxicity) to standard doses of 5-FU. Diagnosis of DPD deficiency must be confirmed by specialized laboratory tests. The principle treatment for DPD-deficient patients with severe acute 5-FU reactions is supportive care; however, the administration of thymidine potentially may reverse severe 5-FU-induced neurologic symptoms such as encephalopathy and coma. CONCLUSIONS: Early recognition of this serious pharmacogenetic syndrome may allow for the modification of future chemotherapy, thus avoiding further life-threatening toxicities. IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING PRACTICE: Nurses must understand the pharmacology, mechanism of action, clinical presentation, potentially lethal risks, and traumatic psychosocial stresses experienced by DPD-deficient patients with cancer receiving 5-FU therapy in order to develop timely interventions and alternative plans of care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-88
Number of pages6
JournalOncology nursing forum
Volume24
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology(nursing)

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