In the 45 years since its development, the pyrimidine analog 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) has become an integral component of many cancer treatments, most notably for the management of colorectal cancer. An appreciable fraction of patients who receive 5-FU suffer severe adverse toxicities, which in extreme cases may result in death. Dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD, encoded by DPYD) rapidly degrades 85% of administered 5-FU, and as such, limits the amount of drug available for conversion into active metabolites. Clinical studies have suggested that genetic variations in DPYD increase the risk for 5-FU toxicity, however, there is not a clear consensus about which variations are relevant predictors. In the present study, DPYD variants were expressed in mammalian cells, and the enzymatic activity of expressed protein was determined relative to wild-type (WT). Relative sensitivity to 5-FU for cells expressing DPYD variations was also measured. The DPYD*2A variant (exon 14 deletion caused by IVS14+1G>A) was confirmed to be catalytically inactive. Compared with WT, two variants, S534N and C29R, showed significantly higher enzymatic activity. Cells expressing S534N were more resistant to 5-FU-mediated toxicity compared with cells expressing WT DPYD. These findings support the hypothesis that selected DPYD alleles are protective against severe 5-FU toxicity, and, as a consequence, may decrease the effectiveness of 5-FU an antitumor drug in carriers. In addition, this study shows a method that may be useful for phenotyping other genetic variations in pharmacologically relevant pathways.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research