Associate Professor Nuala Helsby
University of Auckland
Can pre-screening reduce the risk of life-threatening fluoropyrimidine toxicity?
36 months

Lay summary

Fluoropyrimidine drugs such as 5-FU are used to treat colorectal cancer and metastatic breast cancer. Unfortunately severe and even life-threatening side effects occur in a substantial number of patients. This project will explore the potential of using a dose of thymine as a screening test to identify which patients cannot safely take fluoropyrimidine drugs. We will also assess how this thymine test performs compared to the assessment of a panel of inherited marker genes which associate with this toxicity. This prospective cohort study will be an extension of a preliminary study in Auckland and will be undertaken in patients receiving combination therapy schedules that include a fluoropyrimidine drug. If this research test is successful it could be a cost-effective way to improve the safe and effective use of these drugs and benefit New Zealand cancer patients as well as the healthcare system.

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