Modulation of high-dose methotrexate toxicity by a non-toxic level of 5-fluorouracil

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High-dose methotrexate (MTX) toxicity is reduced by a non-toxic dose of 5-fluorouracil (FU) when these agents are used in combination. Changes in the hematopoietic system (platelets, erythrocytes, leukocytes, hemoglobin, and hematocrit), ileal tissue, body weight, and mean survival were used as parameters to assess toxicity. For all parameters studied, there were no significant differences between the scheduling of MTX (245 mg/kg) after a priming dose of FU (25 mg/kg), simultaneous MTX and FU, FU alone, and control. However, sequential treatment with MTX followed by FU, and MTX alone resulted in: (a) a marked decrease in the hematopoietic parameters; (b) significant morphological changes in ileal tissue; (c) a reduction of body weight; and (d) increased mortality of animals. Hence, this study suggests that FU, a cytotoxic agent, may protect against MTX toxicity and improve its therapeutic index when FU administration precedes MTX or when these agents are given simultaneously. © 1986.

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