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Overwhelming 5-Fluorouracil Toxicity in Patients Whose Diabetes Is Poorly Controlled

Sadoff, Leonard M.D., F.A.C.P.

American Journal of Clinical Oncology: December 1998 - Volume 21 - Issue 6 - p 605-607

The author presents seven patients with diabetes and cites from the literature seven patients with diabetes with probable enhanced 5-fluorouracil toxicity. In the author's seven patients, the amount of toxicity was directly related to the degree of hyperglycemia. In three of these patients who had the most severe hyperglycemia, toxicity was overwhelming, and led to death in two patients. In the 1960s, researchers showed, in a series of in vitro experiments, that glucose increased the cytotoxicity of 5-fluorouracil. The author concludes that patients whose diabetes is poorly controlled are at increased risk for severe 5-fluorouracil toxicity. New labeling instructions should advise caution in using 5-fluorouracil in patients with diabetes.

From Francis Chung Pharm D., Kaiser-Permanente Medical Center, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Leonard Sadoff, 6207 Ocean Front Walk, Playa Del Rey, CA 90293, U.S.A.

© 1998 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.