Phase II study of oral tegafur-uracil and folinic acid as first-line therapy for metastatic colorectal cancer: Taiwan experience

Jen Kou Lin, Wei Shu Wang*, Ruey Kuen Hsieh, Tzu Chi Hsu, Tzeon Jye Chiou, Jin Hwang Liu, Frank S. Fan, Chueh Chuan Yen, Tzu Chen Lin, Jeng Kae Jiang, Shung Haur Yang, Huann Sheng Wang, Po Min Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: Tegafur-uracil has become an important regimen in the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer. Tegafur is a prodrug that is converted to 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and has been reported to be less toxic and to have a higher therapeutic index. The additional advantage of tegafur is oral administration, an important consideration to improve the quality of life in these patients. Tegafur in combination with uracil is thought to have greater anti-tumor activity due to the inhibitory effect of uracil on the degradation of 5-FU by hepatic dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase. Tegafur with folinic acid has been reported with modest efficacy and acceptable toxicity. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness and toxicity profile of oral tegafur-uracil plus folinic acid in Chinese patients with metastatic colorectal cancer. Methods: Between May 1998 and August 1999, 40 patients with metastatic colorectal carcinoma were enrolled in this study. All the patients had to have measurable lesions. The initial dose of tegafur-uracil was 300 mg/m2/day for 28 days, followed by a 7-day rest period. Folinic acid was administered orally at a dose of 60 mg/day concurrently with tegafur-uracil. For patients with neutrophil count <1500/μl or a platelet count <100 000/μl after treatment, the treatment was postponed for a maximum of 2 weeks. After that time, if the neutrophil count was 1000-1500/μl and the platelet count was 70 000-100 000 μl, the dose of tegafur-uracil was reduced by 50%, and if lower values resulted, the treatment was discontinued. Results: Forty patients received a total of 318 courses of treatment and a response rate of 32.5% (95% Cl, 18-47%), including five complete remissions and eight partial remissions, was achieved. Toxicity was mild and generally tolerable. Gastrointestinal toxicities, including diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, were the major side effects. Seven incidences (17.5%) of grade 3-4 gastrointestinal toxicity were observed. Hematological toxicities were minimal with no evidence of severe (grade 3 or 4) leukopenia and thrombocytopenia. No episode of hepatic, renal, cardiac or neurological toxicity occurred. Two patients (5%) developed transient painful fissuring erythroderma over their palms and soles (the hand-foot syndrome). Conclusions: The data from our study indicate that oral tegafur-uracil plus folinic acid is an active and tolerable first-line treatment for Chinese patients with metastatic colorectal cancer, with the additional advantage of being easily administered at home.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)510-514
Number of pages5
JournalJapanese journal of clinical oncology
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2000


  • Folinic acid
  • Metastatic colorectal cancer
  • Tegafur-uracil


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