Analysis of the DPYD gene implicated in 5-fluorouracil catabolism in Chinese cancer patients

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Background and objective

5-fluorouracil (5-FU) is still a widely used anticancer drug. More than 85% of the 5-FU administered is catabolized by dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) in the liver. However, mutations in the DPD gene have been found to be associated with low DPD activity causing severe complications. The purpose of this study was to determine the mutation frequency of four exons in Chinese cancer patients and the relationship between genotype and DPD activity.


Samples from 142 cancer patients were investigated in this study. The DPD activity was determined by reversed-phase HPLC. Exons 2, 13, 14 and 18 were amplified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), sequenced and analysed from both sense and antisense directions. Nonparametric one-sample Kolmogorov–Smirnov test was used for distribution analysis; two independent samples t-test and one-way ANOVA was performed for two groups and three groups analyses, respectively.

Results and Discussion

Plasma-DPD activities in the 142 cancer patients followed a Gaussian distribution. The mean plasma-DPD activity in women was lower than that in men (P = 0·006). Four mutations, 85T>C(DPYD*9A), 1627A>G(DPYD*5), 1896T>C and 2194G>A(DPYD*6), were found in the 142 cancer patients. The following mutations reported by others were not detected: 61C>T, 62G>A, 74A>G, 1601G>A(DPYD*4), 1679T>G(DPYD*13), 1714C>G, 1897delC(DPYD*3) and IVS 14 + 1G>A. No significant correlation was found between three mutations [85T>C(DPYD*9A), 1627A>G (DPYD*5) and 1896T>C], and DPD activity was found.


No clear correlation between the mutations studied and DPD activity could be established in this study. However, larger-scale prospective studies are needed to better assess the reported genotype–phenotype correlations.

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