Fluorouracil, also called 5-fluorouracil or 5-FU, (chemical name: adrucil) is a chemotherapy drug.

Chemical name: Fluorouracil, also called 5-fluorouracil or 5-FU

Brand name: Adrucil

Class: Antimetabolite chemotherapy. Gemzar, methotrexate, and Xeloda are other antimetabolites.

How it works: Antimetabolites kill cancer cells by acting as false building blocks in a cancer cell's genes, causing the cancer cell to die as it gets ready to divide.

Uses: Fluorouracil often is used in combination with other chemotherapy medicines to treat:

  • early-stage breast cancer after surgery and other treatments

  • advanced-stage breast cancer

How it's given: Flourouracil is given intravenously.

Important information about DPYD mutations: People with a mutation in the DPYD gene have a much higher risk of severe, sometimes life-threatening, side effects from fluorouracil. Researchers estimate that out of 1,000 people who receive fluorouracil, at least 20 might have a DPYD mutation.

It’s recommended that people with a DPYD mutation either receive a lower dose of fluorouracil or receive a different medicine. In 2020, the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) recommended genetic testing for anyone prescribed fluorouracil. In the United States, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) do not recommend testing for DPYD mutations.

Some people with a DPYD mutation may have seizures, intellectual disabilities, and autistic behaviors that affect their ability to communicate. Other people have no signs or symptoms.

If fluorouracil is part of your treatment plan, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about your family’s medical history and ask if DPYD testing makes sense for you.

Side effects:

— Last updated on August 5, 2022, 8:16 PM

Other sections related to Fluorouracil