5-Fluorouracil (FUra) has been administered to mice bearing xenografts of human colon adenocarcinomas. In two tumor lines, HxGC3 and HxVRC5, intrinsically resistant to FUra, 2'-deoxy-uridylate (dUMP) accumulated 13.4- and 23.9-fold above basal levels. In HxELC2 xenografts, which demonstrated some sensitivity to FUra, there was a decrease in dUMP concentration after drug administration. Maximal intratumor levels of 5-fluoro-2'-deoxyuridylate (FdUMP) were found at 1 hr, but decreased in all tumor lines by 4 hr after administration of FUra. Data derived in tumor cytosols suggested that FdUMP levels in situ were not rate-limiting for formation of covalent ternary complex, but that accumulation of dUMP would retard the rate of complex formation. Subsequent to administration of FUra, thymidylate synthase activity was reduced >75% in all tumors, but it recovered rapidly in tumors resistant to FUra. In addition, the pretreatment level of activity of thymidylate synthase was 12.7-fold greater in HxVRC5 tumors than in HxELC2 tumors. This elevated activity in HxVRC5 tumors appears not to be a consequence of gene amplification. Formation of FdUMP or the accumulation of dUMP did not correlate with the activity of phosphatases measured at pH 5.8 or pH 9.2 in each tumor line. Further, inhibition of phosphatase activity did not alter, significantly, the net rate of dissociation of the FdUMP-thymidylate synthase-[6R]-CH2-H4PteGlu complex.
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