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Fluorouracil (Adrucil)

Catalog No.: GC14466

Fluorouracil (Adrucil) (5-FU) is an analogue of uracil with a fluorine atom at the C-5 position in place of hydrogen.

Fluorouracil (Adrucil) Chemical Structure

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10mM (in 1mL DMSO)
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Sample solution is provided at 25 µL, 10mM.

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Cell experiment [1]:

Cell lines

HCT116 parental cell line (ATCC CCL247) and HCT116 ContinB and ContinD resistant derivatives (all wild-type TP53 cell lines)

Preparation Method

770 µM Fluorouracil (Adrucil) (5-FU) was added to the media 24 hours after seeding. Cells were harvested by trypsinization or scraping at 0, 8, and 24 hours after addition of 5-FU to the culture medium. Control wells received no Fluorouracil (Adrucil).

Reaction Conditions

770µM for 0, 8, and 24 hours


Cells were treated with Fluorouracil (Adrucil) (5-FU) for 24 hours and followed for up to 40 days in drug-free medium. After day 7, the cell counts for ContinD increased steadily, the cell counts for ContinB and parental cultures began to increase after about 15 and 20 days, respectively.

Animal experiment [2]:

Animal models

Male C57BL/6 mice, azoxymethane/dextran sodium sulfate (AOM/DSS) model of CRC

Preparation Method

Fluorouracil (Adrucil) (5-FU) was dissolved in sterile PBS, pH7.4 and then sterile filtered through a 0.2µm syringe filter. Fluorouracil was administered in 3 cycles; cycle 1: 40mg/kg, cycle 2 and 3: 20mg/kg via intraperitoneal injection. Fluorouracil was prepared fresh at the beginning of each cycle. Sterile filtered PBS alone was used as the vehicle control. Each cycle consisted of 5 consecutive days of injections followed by 9days of recovery. The treatment period lasted for 5weeks and mice were sacrificed 24 hr after the final injection of the third cycle.

Dosage form

Intraperitoneal injection, 40mg/kg and 20mg/kg


Fluorouracil reduces tumor burden but decreases survival in AOM/DSS mice.


[1]: De Angelis P M, Svendsrud D H, Kravik K L, et al. Cellular response to 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) in 5-FU-resistant colon cancer cell lines during treatment and recovery[J]. Molecular cancer, 2006, 5(1): 1-25.
[2]: Sougiannis A T, VanderVeen B N, Enos R T, et al. Impact of 5 fluorouracil chemotherapy on gut inflammation, functional parameters, and gut microbiota[J]. Brain, behavior, and immunity, 2019, 80: 44-55.


Fluorouracil (Adrucil) (5-FU) is an analogue of uracil with a fluorine atom at the C-5 position in place of hydrogen [1]. Fluorouracil is widely used in the treatment of a range of cancers, including colorectal and breast cancers, and cancers of the aerodigestive tract [1].

The mechanism of cytotoxicity of Fluorouracil (Adrucil) has been ascribed to the misincorporation of fluoronucleotides into RNA and DNA and to the inhibition of the nucleotide synthetic enzyme thymidylate synthase (TS) [1]. Fluorouracil (Adrucil) at the concentration of 770µM treated HCT116 parental cell line and its 5-FU-resistant derivatives, Fluorouracil (Adrucil) led to a G1(/S) arrest at 8 and 24 hours [2]. The G1 arrest was most pronounced in ContinD cells at 24 hours, whereas the S phase arrest was most pronounced in parental HCT116 cells at 24 hours [3].

Fluorouracil (Adrucil) beneficial effected in intestinal tumorigenesis in the Apcmin/+ mice model where a 60-80% reduction in polyps [4]. Fluorouracil (Adrucil) reduces body weight, exacerbates symptom severity score, increases liver weight, and decreases epididymal fat mass, and decrease in survival [5].

[1]. Longley D B, Harkin D P, Johnston P G. 5-fluorouracil: mechanisms of action and clinical strategies[J]. Nature reviews cancer, 2003, 3(5): 330-338.
[2]. Takeda H, Haisa M, Naomoto Y, Kawashima R, Satomoto K, Yamatuji T, Tanaka N: Effect of 5-fluorouracil on cell cycle regulatory proteins in human colon cancer cell line. Jpn J Cancer Res. 1999, 90: 677-684.
[3]. De Angelis P M, Svendsrud D H, Kravik K L, et al. Cellular response to 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) in 5-FU-resistant colon cancer cell lines during treatment and recovery[J]. Molecular cancer, 2006, 5(1): 1-25.
[4]. J.M. Tucker, C. Davis, M.E. Kitchens, et al. Response to 5-fluorouracil chemotherapy is modified by dietary folic acid deficiency in Apc(Min/+) mice. Cancer Lett., 187 (2002), pp. 153-162
[5]. Sougiannis A T, VanderVeen B N, Enos R T, et al. Impact of 5 fluorouracil chemotherapy on gut inflammation, functional parameters, and gut microbiota[J]. Brain, behavior, and immunity, 2019, 80: 44-55.

Chemical Properties

Cas No. 51-21-8 SDF
Synonyms 5-Fluorouracil,5-FU, Efudex, Adrucil, Carac
Chemical Name 5-fluoro-1H-pyrimidine-2,4-dione
Canonical SMILES C1=C(C(=O)NC(=O)N1)F
Formula C4H3FN2O2 M.Wt 130.1
Solubility ≥ 6.5 mg/mL in DMSO, ≥ 10.04 mg/mL in Water with ultrasonic and warming Storage 4°C, protect from light
General tips For obtaining a higher solubility , please warm the tube at 37 ℃ and shake it in the ultrasonic bath for a while.Stock solution can be stored below -20℃ for several months.
Shipping Condition Evaluation sample solution : ship with blue ice
All other available size: ship with RT , or blue ice upon request

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Research Update

Clinical pharmacology of 5-fluorouracil

5-Fluorouracil, first introduced as a rationally synthesized anticancer agent 30 years ago, continues to be widely used in the management of several common malignancies including cancer of the colon, breast and skin. This drug, an analogue of the naturally occurring pyrimidine uracil, is metabolised via the same metabolic pathways as uracil. Although several potential sites of antitumour activity have been identified, the precise mechanism of action and the extent to which each of these sites contributes to tumour or host cell toxicity remains unclear. Several assay methods are available to quantify 5-fluorouracil in serum, plasma and other biological fluids. Unfortunately, there is no evidence that plasma drug concentrations can predict antitumour effect or host cell toxicity. The recent development of clinically useful pharmacodynamic assays provides an attractive alternative to plasma drug concentrations, since these assays allow the detection of active metabolites of 5-fluorouracil in biopsied tumour or normal tissue. 5-Fluorouracil is poorly absorbed after oral administration, with erratic bioavailability. The parenteral preparation is the major dosage form, used intravenously (bolus or continuous infusion). Recently, studies have demonstrated the pharmacokinetic rationale and clinical feasibility of hepatic arterial infusion and intraperitoneal administration of 5-fluorouracil. In addition, 5-fluorouracil continues to be used in topical preparations for the treatment of malignant skin cancers. Following parenteral administration of 5-fluorouracil, there is rapid distribution of the drug and rapid elimination with an apparent terminal half-life of approximately 8 to 20 minutes. The rapid elimination is primarily due to swift catabolism of the liver. As with all drugs, caution should be used in administering 5-fluorouracil in various pathophysiological states. In general, however, there are no set recommendations for dose adjustment in the presence of renal or hepatic dysfunction. Drug interactions continue to be described with other antineoplastic drugs, as well as with other classes of agents.

Effects of 5-FU

5-fluorouracil (5-FU) is a chemotherapeutical agent used to treat cancers including breast and colorectal. Working as an antimetabolite to prevent cell proliferation, it primarily inhibits the enzyme thymidylate synthase blocking the thymidine formation required for DNA synthesis. Although having a relatively short half-life (< 30 mins) it readily enters the brain by passive diffusion. Clinically, it is used both as a single agent or in combination with other chemotherapies and has been associated with the long-term side effects of cognitive impairment, known as "chemo brain" or "chemo fog" These accounts have come primarily from patients undergoing treatment for breast cancer who report symptoms including confusion and memory impairment, which can last for months to years. Psychometric studies of patients have suffered from confounding variables, which has led to the use of rodent models to assess the cognitive effects of this drug. Researchers have used behavioral and physiological tests including the Morris water maze, novel object location/recognition tests, shock motivated T-maze, sensory gating and conditioning, to investigate the effect of this drug on cognition. The variety of cognitive tests and the difference in dosing and administration of 5-FU has led to varied results, possibly due to the different brain regions associated with each test and the subtlety of the drug's effect, but overall these studies indicates that 5-FU has a negative effect on memory, executive function and sensory gating. 5-FU has also been demonstrated to have biochemical and structural changes on specific regions of the brain. Evidence shows it can induce apoptosis and depress cell proliferation in the neurogenic regions of the adult brain including the sub granular zone (SGZ) within the hippocampus and in oligodendrocyte precursor populations within white matter tracts. Furthermore, investigations indicate levels ofdoublecortin, a marker for newly formed neurons and brain derived neurotrophic factor, a cell survival modulator, are also reduced by 5-FU in the SGZ. Thus, 5-FU appears to have a lasting negative impact on cognition and to affect cellular and biochemical markers in various brain regions. Further work is needed to understand the exact mechanisms involved and to devise strategies for the prevention or recovery from these symptoms.


Fluorouracil-induced Hyperammonemia in a Patient with Colorectal Cancer

Fluorouracil (5-FU; Adrucil?) is a pyrimidine analog antineoplastic chemotherapy agent which works by interfering with DNA and RNA synthesis. It has an uncommon toxicity called hyperammonemic encephalopathy. This neurotoxicity is associated with a high-dose administration of 5-FU (2,600 mg/m(2)/week), with an incidence rate of 5.7%, and is not normally seen with the current dose of 1,200 mg/m(2) infused over 46 h. The mechanism behind this neurotoxicity is not known but is possibly due to accumulation of fluorocitrate, a byproduct of 5-FU metabolism. This by-product inhibits the Krebs cycle, which causes impairment of the adenosine triphosphate-dependent urea cycle. By impairing this cycle, ammonia is not converted to urea, which in turn this leads to an accumulation of ammonia. The accumulated ammonia in the brain is metabolized to glutamine, which has been suggested to cause an increase in intracranial pressure and cerebral edema. This case report discusses how a 40-year-old male with colorectal cancer experienced 5FU-induced hyperammonemia and was treated for it and how reducing the dose by 50% led to resolution of this symptom from reoccurring.

5-Fluorouracil-associated cardiotoxicity

Cardiotoxicity manifested as myocardial ischemia is not generally recognized as a side effect of 5-fluorouracil. However, there have been at least 35 cases reported since 1975. In only one of these cases was a somewhat detailed evaluation done to rule out underlying coronary disease. The case reported here of 5-FU cardiotoxicity included an extensive cardiac evaluation to rule out underlying coronary disease and to assess spasm. The literature on 5-FU cardiotoxicity is also reviewed, and its possible mechanisms are analyzed.


Review for Fluorouracil (Adrucil)

Average Rating: 5 ★★★★★ (Based on Reviews and 18 reference(s) in Google Scholar.)

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