The uracil breath test in the assessment of dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase activity: pharmacokinetic relationship between expired 13CO2 and plasma [2-13C]dihydrouracil.

Academic Article


  • PURPOSE: Dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) deficiency is critical in the predisposition to 5-fluorouracil dose-related toxicity. We recently characterized the phenotypic [2-(13)C]uracil breath test (UraBT) with 96% specificity and 100% sensitivity for identification of DPD deficiency. In the present study, we characterize the relationships among UraBT-associated breath (13)CO(2) metabolite formation, plasma [2-(13)C]dihydrouracil formation, [2-(13)C]uracil clearance, and DPD activity. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: An aqueous solution of [2-(13)C]uracil (6 mg/kg) was orally administered to 23 healthy volunteers and 8 cancer patients. Subsequently, breath (13)CO(2) concentrations and plasma [2-(13)C]dihydrouracil and [2-(13)C]uracil concentrations were determined over 180 minutes using IR spectroscopy and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry, respectively. Pharmacokinetic variables were determined using noncompartmental methods. Peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) DPD activity was measured using the DPD radioassay. RESULTS: The UraBT identified 19 subjects with normal activity, 11 subjects with partial DPD deficiency, and 1 subject with profound DPD deficiency with PBMC DPD activity within the corresponding previously established ranges. UraBT breath (13)CO(2) DOB(50) significantly correlated with PBMC DPD activity (r(p) = 0.78), plasma [2-(13)C]uracil area under the curve (r(p) = -0.73), [2-(13)C]dihydrouracil appearance rate (r(p) = 0.76), and proportion of [2-(13)C]uracil metabolized to [2-(13)C]dihydrouracil (r(p) = 0.77; all Ps < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: UraBT breath (13)CO(2) pharmacokinetics parallel plasma [2-(13)C]uracil and [2-(13)C]dihydrouracil pharmacokinetics and are an accurate measure of interindividual variation in DPD activity. These pharmacokinetic data further support the future use of the UraBT as a screening test to identify DPD deficiency before 5-fluorouracil-based therapy.
  • Published In


  • Administration, Oral, Adult, Aged, Breath Tests, Carbon Dioxide, Carbon Isotopes, Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid, Diagnostic Tests, Routine, Dihydrouracil Dehydrogenase (NADP), Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Neoplasms, Phenotype, Sensitivity and Specificity, Spectrophotometry, Infrared, Uracil
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    Author List

  • Mattison LK; Fourie J; Hirao Y; Koga T; Desmond RA; King JR; Shimizu T; Diasio RB
  • Start Page

  • 549
  • End Page

  • 555
  • Volume

  • 12
  • Issue

  • 2