Pharmacokinetics of intrapericardial administration of 5-fluorouracil

Mary B. Lerner-Tung, Alex Y.C. Chang, Ling S. Ong, Deborah Kreiser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


A 30-year-old patient with metastatic breast adenocarcinoma was diagnosed as having a malignant pericardial effusion. Methods: The patient was treated with two courses of 200 mg 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) followed by 20 mg cisplatin 5 h later directly infused into the pericardial space through a catheter. The drug levels of the 5-FU were monitored during the second treatment. The half-life of 5-FU in the pericardial space was 168.6 min with a concentration of 0.113 mg/ml still detected at 5 h. The area under the curve (AUC) was estimated to be 4.739 mg h/ml. The plasma concentrations of 5-FU ranged from 0.022 to 0.04 mg/ml throughout the infusion. Results: There was no significant change in the patient's blood counts or chemistry profile. She did not experience any side effects during the treatment. A pericardial window was performed 2 days later when balloon pericardiectomy was unsuccessful. The patient eventually succumbed to her disease 4 months later, but without evidence of pericardial effusion. Conclusions: We conclude that pericardial infusion of 5-FU allowed a high concentration of 5-FU to be achieved within the pericardial sac with a greatly increased half-life over that of systemic 5-FU treatment (168 min vs 6-20 min), and with little systemic toxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)318-320
Number of pages3
JournalCancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • 5-Fluorouracil
  • Breast cancer
  • Malignant pericardial effusion
  • Pharmacokinetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cancer Research
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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