Pharmacokinetic evaluation of capecitabine in breast cancer

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Introduction: Capecitabine, an oral prodrug of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), is adsorbed in its intact form through the intestine and metabolized to 5-FU in tumour cells. In metastatic breast cancer (MBC), capecitabine is an effective and well-tolerated therapeutic option both in monotherapy and in combination with chemotherapeutic or molecular-targeted agents. Areas covered: We summarized data on pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of capecitabine. We also produced a general review of the most relevant clinical studies of capecitabine in MBC. A literature search was performed using PubMed database including selected articles published in English language up to October 2012. Expert opinion: The unique pharmacodynamic/pharmacokinetic features represent the bases of the reduced toxicity and the activity of capecitabine in several tumours. Although during the past 10 years there has been an increasing use of this drug in MBC both as single agent and in combination, encouraging results of well tolerated and active combinations with novel agents will lead to a more extensive and protracted use of capecitabine. In view of this, some aspects should be further clarified such as the optimal starting dose and the introduction of alternative schedules of treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-235
Number of pages11
JournalExpert Opinion on Drug Metabolism and Toxicology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013


  • 5-fluorouracil
  • Breast cancer
  • Capecitabine
  • Pharmacokinetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology


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