• 5FU sensitivity;
  • cell cycle;
  • G1/S delay;
  • labeling index;
  • bromodeoxyuridine;
  • flow cytometry



Bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) cell cycle analysis using flow cytometry is of clinical interest for making treatment decisions or for predicting response and survival, through proliferation rate (labeling index or S-phase fraction) assessment or Tpot calculation. Thymidylate synthase expression was tested in vitro, in vivo, and clinically as a prognostic factor for 5-fluorouracil (5FU) sensitivity. However, results were still controversial. Moreover, we had reported that 5FU sensitivity was related to the labeling index of untreated cell cultures.


We used six human cancer cell lines that exhibited a wide range of 5FU sensitivity. Cell cycle analysis was performed using flow cytometry monovariate propidium iodide (PI) analysis and bivariate distributions of BrdU incorporation versus DNA content. 5FU sensitivity was assayed using a 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl-2H-tetrazolium bromide (MTT) colorimetric assay.


In all cell lines, 5FU exposure resulted in a statistically significant G1/S accumulation. No statistically significant relationship was seen between G0/G1 delay determined by monovariate analysis and 5FU sensitivity. However, 5FU sensitivity was statistically correlated to the labeling index and G1/S subpopulation assessed with bivariate analysis using BrdU incorporation versus DNA content.


Cellular proliferation parameters using BrdU incorporation are more informative than PI for in vitro 5FU sensitivity. Because BrdU incorporation could be assessed clinically, it could also be informative for 5FU clinical response prediction. Cytometry 48:6–13, 2002. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.