Capecitabine: Indications and future perspectives in the treatment of metastatic colorectal and breast cancer

Antonino Cassata, Giuseppe Procopio, Massimiliano Alù, Leonardo Ferrari, Erminia Ferrario, Elena Beretta, Raffaella Longarini, Giuseppina Busto, Daniela De Candis, Emilio Bajetta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fluoropyrimidines remain the most important drugs in the treatment of breast and colorectal carcinoma, but response rates and survival time have been disappointing. Optimal administration is by continuous intravenous infusion, which makes it cumbersome to use and compromises patient independence. Recently, a number of new agents, including fluorouracil prodrugs and selective dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase inhibitors, have been studied, with promising results. Capecitabine is the first in a new class of fluoropyrimidines. It is an oral, tumor-activated anticancer drug whose activity mimics that of continuously infused 5-fluorouracil. Capecitabine circumvents dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase catabolism and appears to be at least as active against metastatic colorectal and breast cancer as conventionally administered intravenous 5-fluorouracil, with significantly less toxicity, an improved quality of life, and lesser cost. Capecitabine may ultimately provide enhanced antitumor activity to fluorouracil-containing regimes for advanced colorectal and breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)364-371
Number of pages8
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Breast neoplasms
  • Capecitabine
  • Colorectal neoplasms
  • Drug combinations
  • Fluorouracil

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research


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