The sensitivity of HeLa cells and 15 human tumors, including eight gastric cancers, five colorectal cancers and two lung cancers to 1-hexylcarbamoyl-5-fluorouracil (HCFU) was compared with that to 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) in vitro. HeLa cells were doubly sensitive to HCFU, as compared to 5-FU. After the HeLa cells had been treated with 5-FU or HCFU at 77 μM for 1-5 h, the intracellular levels of 5-FU and HCFU were determined, using gas chromatographic-mass spectrometric methods. The level of HCFU plus 5-FU in the HCFU-treated cells was twice as high as the level of 5-FU in the 5-FU-treated cells. The sensitivity to HCFU in 15 tumor tissues varied with the tissue; however, all tissues tested were more sensitive to HCFU than to 5-FU, assessed using the succinate dehydrogenase inhibition test. These results suggest that the hexylcarbamoyl structure facilitates the rapid uptake of HCFU through the cell membrane. HCFU may prove to be more effective for treating each individual patient with a malignant lesion.
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