The pharmacology of high-dose 1-(tetrahydro-2-furanyl)-5-fluorouracil (FT) has been studied by radiochemical and chromatographic techniques in eight patients. Plasma disappearance of FT was exponential, with a half-life of 8.8 hr. Plasma concentrations of 5-fluorouracil (FUra) were sustained at 12.8 nmol/ml (1.7 µg/ml) for at least 48 hr after FT administration. The concentrations of FUra derived from the administration of FT were considerably greater than were those achieved by constant infusion of FUra at the maximal tolerated dose of 1.1 g/sq m without causing unacceptable mucositis. The cumulative urinary excretion was 20% of the administered dose in 24 hr. FT underwent in vivo biotransformation to 2 hydroxytetrahy-drofuranyl-5-fluorouracil derivatives in addition to anabolites and catabolites of FUra. High concentrations of FT and FUra were present in the cerebrospinal fluid, which could account for the severe central nervous system toxicity of FT at high doses. We conclude that the antitumor activity of FT is partially attributable to its slow release of FUra.

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Supported by Contracts N01-CM-53773 and N01-CM-43801 and Grant CA-14528 from the Division of Cancer Treatment, National Cancer Institute, NIH, USPHS.

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